OSSIAN, Ind. – A 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while fishing with his father in northeastern Indiana was struck in the head by an errant bullet, a sheriff and a family friend said.
Wells County Sheriff Monte Fisher told The Associated Press on Sunday that Jacob Michuda was shot in the head late Friday night while he and his father were fishing from a pier at a pond outside Ossian, a rural community about 15 miles south of Fort Wayne.
Trisha Ulmer told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne for a Sunday story that the boy's mother told her the boy was shot in the temple.
Fisher said an autopsy was performed Saturday.
Forty-six-year-old neighbor Bruce Pond was being held without bond on a preliminary charge of reckless homicide and due to appear in court Monday. Fisher told the Bluffton News-Banner alcohol was involved and Pond apparently shot at a light on the pier where the father and son were fishing.
"I think it was just a freak accident," Ulmer said.
Police and medics were called to the scene at 11:07 p.m. Friday. Police said an ambulance took the boy to a hospital in Fort Wayne, where he was pronounced dead at 3:12 a.m. Saturday. Police arrested Pond later that day.
The shooting was the latest in a recent string of children's death from gunshots across Indiana.
The shooting came just one day after a 4-year-old boy from Cedar Lake, in northwest Indiana's Lake County, accidentally shot himself at a suburban Chicago liquor store.
Two other Indiana boys also have died from gunshots in the past 3 1/2 weeks. A 2-year-old Connersville boy died July 14 after accidentally being shot by his 5-year-old brother, and a 6-year-old boy died June 30 after being shot in the head with a .22-caliber gun at his family's home near Martinsville. The Martinsville boy's 11-year-old brother faces juvenile charges of murder and reckless homicide in that shooting.
Ulmer, who said she had known Jacob Michuda since he was born, described him as an "angel."
"He was always smiling," she told The Journal Gazette. "He was an angel. He was a perfect little boy. He was so tender-hearted and loving."
Ulmer said Jake, who was from nearby Bluffton, loved to fish and spend time outdoors and frequently fished at the Ossian pond with his father.
"Before bed, Jake wanted to go back out," Ulmer said. "They had a flashlight. It was nothing they had never done before."