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Wounded boy's condition still critical

By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
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published October 30, 2002

TAMPA -- A 3-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the neck Monday remained in critical condition Tuesday night at Tampa General Hospital.

Investigators said Quinn Burchfield was watching television with his sisters, Britney, 11, and Hannah, 8, when the shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. at their home at 4426 W Bay Ave.

His parents were in the kitchen.

The boy's father, Steven Burchfield, 33, had left his .32-caliber, semiautomatic handgun inside his jeans, which lay on a dresser in the room, said Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin.

The boy found the gun and began playing with it. His sisters couldn't get to him before he pulled the trigger, Durkin said.

He fired one bullet, which lodged in his neck.

While the boy's mother, Laura, and his sisters went with Quinn to Tampa General Hospital, Steven Burchfield stayed behind Monday night to answer questions from detectives.

Durkin said Burchfield could face charges in the incident, but that investigators won't decide on that "for at least a week or two. We're still working the case."

Florida statutes require that firearms be "securely encased" or "otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use."

According to state records, Steven Burchfield holds a concealed weapons permit that is valid through Jan. 16, 2007. But in August 2000, the state Division of Licensing denied applications from Burchfield to become a security officer and to carry a gun while working.

"It was denied on criminal history," said Nicole Howell, document specialist with the Division of Licensing.

Burchfield has no criminal history in Florida. But in South Carolina, where he lived previously, he was convicted of DUI and possession of contraband.

Records show that the Burchfields moved into the quiet neighborhood near Robinson High School in October 2000 after paying $82,000 for the house.

-- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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