CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- Parents in one Charlestown neighborhood are thinking twice about letting their kids play outside after small children got their hands on a loaded handgun.
“It made my blood boil knowing that actually happened,” said Andrew Simmons, who lives in the neighborhood.
“And it was loaded. I sat here and watched them unload that gun,” neighbor Wanda Whitehouse said.
Police say a young child pointed the gun at a 10-year-old girl after an argument about a nasty letter.
“It kind of freaked me out, because I didn't know what was going on,” the 10-year-old girl said.
When the neighbor girl came over to confront a group of children about the note, that's when police say one of the children pulled out a handgun and told the girl to get off the property.
“He kind of said, 'do you want to hold it.' I said 'no.' But then he counted the bullets and everything, and it had four bullets,” the 10-year-old girl said.
“I mean, it was bad. It was dangerous,” Whitehouse said.
That's when officers say the girl ran home and told an adult.
“I hopped in my car, went around the corner to try to question the parents," Simmons said. "The parents weren't home."
When they returned home, parents Daniel and Betty Ann Mendricks were arrested and charged with neglect of a dependent. They later bailed out of jail.
According to police, their 7-year-old boy "advised that they usually just leave him and his sister home alone while they are at work... [for] 'a loooooong time'.... he could have watched '60 cartoons' from the time they left until [the officer] arrived."
The police report adds Betty says she was advised by a DCS worker out of Floyd County that leaving her children home alone at the ages of 7 and 12 is 'OK.'
Betty "advised that she has been leaving her kids home alone while she and Daniel work since approximately November of last year."
"Additionally, [officers] received several reports while on scene from neighbors who wish to remain anonymous that the children are always left home alone throughout the middle of the day and there is always traffic coming in and out of the house."
When officers asked Daniel if he had a gun in the residence, he said he did, however, "it was inoperable due to a 'crack' on the gun and that there were no ammunition for it anywhere in the house."
The police report continues to say an officer located bullets, and he found the handgun to be fully operational.
“Next thing you know, daddy and mama went to jail over it,” Whitehouse said.
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