Suspect arrested in accidental shooting of four-year-old girl

Published 5:23 pm Friday, June 5, 2020

A LaGrange man has been arrested on cruelty to child charges following a May 18 incident where a 4-year-old girl was accidentally shot in the face.

Leemarkese Melson, 28, was taken into custody Friday by the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Hogansville and has been charged with cruelty to a child in the second degree, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and tampering with evidence.

After his arrest, Melson was transported and booked in the Troup County Jail. His bond has been set at $6,000 for the tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm charge, but there is no bond set for the cruelty to child charge, according to the Troup County Jail website.

Police had been searching for Melson since May 18 after an incident on Kelly Street resulted in a young girl being shot in the face.

Authorities said the victim’s 6-year-old sibling located a gun that was allegedly Melsons and was playing with it, causing it to discharge and strike the 4-year-old in the face.

After the shooting, Melson allegedly fled the scene, taking the weapon with him.

According to LaGrange Police Lt. Dale Strickland, Melson was the brother of the person babysitting the children. The mother of the two children was working at the time of the incident.

After the shooting took place, the babysitter attempted to take the child to the hospital and called 911.

Authorities told the babysitter to pull off the road at a nearby gas station where emergency services could respond. From there, the child was transported from Columbus and then to a hospital in Atlanta.