CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) – A Johnstown Man is facing charges after a five-year-old shot his own finger.

Melvin Nelson Jr., 38, is being charged with child endangerment and illegal possession of a firearm. Police say on Dec. 31, 2021, EMS responded to a traumatic injury. The five-year-old boy, who was the son of the woman he was dating, had suffered an injury to his left index finger and was transported to Conemaugh Hospital, at the time medical personnel believed the child had fallen.

The child’s mother, who was at work during the shooting, was first told that the injury was due to a fall. She went to the hospital and was eventually called by her landlord who told her there was a bullet hole in her wall.

The child had to have surgery on the finger, which is when they determined it was not due to a fall but was in fact due to a bullet wound in close proximity.

When returning home, the mother discovered her 9mm semi-auto pistol had been lying next to her bed. She also noticed a bullet hole in the wall and contacted the police. She told police that she kept the gun in a safe unloaded and only she and Nelson have the code for it.

Police determined that upon the gun being shot after the bullet injured the young boy’s finger it traveled through pillows and the wall. During the time of the shot, the five-year-old siblings were in the home in separate rooms when they heard their brother crying. Neither sibling was able to tell police what happened but stated that Nelson was across the street at another resident at the time and did not know anything had happened until the ambulance arrived.

Nelson had previous criminal charges against him, which prohibited him from using, possessing, or selling a firearm, however, the gun was licensed in his girlfriend’s name.

Nelson is being held at Cambria County Jail as he was unable to post bail. Nelson’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 26.

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