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Man charged with involuntary manslaughter after 4-year-old dies from accidental gunshot wound

22-year-old Matthew Watson-Cook is charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter.

DELLWOOD, Mo. — A man was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter after a 4-year-old boy found a loaded gun in a home and discharged it accidentally, according to a new release by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The boy died of his injuries.

The release said 22-year-old Matthew Watson-Cook said Watson-Cook arrived to the home on Olney Drive in the early hours on June 30. Watson-Cook, according to the statement, went to sleep without securing a loaded semiautomatic pistol. While he was sleeping, the 4-year-old boy found Watson-Cook's gun and discharged it, accidentally shooting himself in the head. 

When Watson-cook woke up to find the child dead, the statement said, he fled the residence. The release said he admitted to owning the weapon and taking it into the home in a later interview. 

"I understand that many people feel safer if they carry a loaded firearm. Whether or not they actually are safer, without question all children are in terrible danger in the presence of a loaded weapon," said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell in the release. "Please, if you carry a gun, secure it at all times when it's not on your person, or it could end in tragedy for a child and prison for you."

Watson-Cook is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond. 

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