April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Deputies: Hartsville father shot and killed by 6-year-old son

By Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department-

Press release

On Feb. 21, 2016, at 9:17 p.m., Bartholomew County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a person shot in the 200 block of Clinton Street, Hartsville. On arrival, deputies found James E. Lonaker, 62, with a gunshot wound to his upper body.

It appears that Lonaker's 6-year-old son accidentally shot his father when he picked up an unsecured 38-caliber revolver and fired a shot that struck Mr. Lonaker. Mr. Lonaker was apparently sitting at his desk and did not see the child pick up the handgun. The handgun belonged to Mr. Lonaker.

Mr. Lonaker was being flown by helicopter to IU Methodist Hospital where he died en route.

Mr. Lonaker's wife and 1-year old infant child were also in the house but were not injured.

This was a tragic accident said Sheriff Matt Myers who wants all Bartholomew County residents to make certain that firearms in their homes are not accessible to anyone - especially children.

"Many firearms accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that firearms are kept unloaded and safely stored, with ammunition secured in a separate location", said Sheriff Matt Myers. "Please keep your guns in a secure location out of reach of children".

"This is a tragedy that is told and retold all across the country and a tragedy that is easily avoided". "I urge every responsible gun owner and parent to take this tragedy to heart", added Myers.

This is being investigated by: Bartholomew County Sheriff's Detective Chad Swank and Lt. Greg Duke.

Assisted at the scene by: Hartsville Fire, Columbus Regional Hospital Medic and STAT Flight Helicopter.

Child Protective Services were notified.[[In-content Ad]]