Apollo Beach man arrested after 5-year-old boy accidentally shoots himself

Aston Simmons was arrested after a five-year-old boy accidentally shot himself. Courtesy: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. 

An Apollo Beach man is facing several charges after investigators say a 5-year-old boy found a loaded gun and accidentally shot himself.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the agency received a 911 call around 8 a.m. on Thursday regarding a young boy who accidentally shot himself. As the call was being made, Aston Simmons, 28, was driving the child to St. Joseph's Hospital. 

When detectives arrived at the home on the 6000 block of Sunsail Place, in Apollo Beach, they say they smelled a strong odor of marijuana. However, according to HCSO, investigators did not see a firearm or casing in sight, so they got a court-authorized search warrant for the residence. 

Investigators determined that the 5-year-old boy found an unsecured and loaded firearm in a bedroom and accidentally shot himself.  

READ: Tampa father accused of shooting his children, killing 1, granted $2.5M bond

According to HCSO, multiple pounds of marijuana and U.S. currency were seized from the home along with drug paraphernalia. 

On Friday, deputies arrested Simmons, who they say is not related to the child, on multiple charges including child neglect with great bodily harm, improper storage of a firearm, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"There is never a circumstance where a child should have access to a firearm. Now, due to the careless actions of this man, a 5-year-old child is fighting to survive. Please pray for him as he clings to life, and know that the irresponsible person that caused this devastation has been arrested and will be held accountable," said Sheriff Chad Chronister.

The child is in critical condition.