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Florida dad tells 911 toddler fatally shot mom

April 22, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) - Authorities have taken a toddler from his father's custody while they investigate the man's claim that the child accidently shot the mother to death.

The father of the 2 1/2 year old boy called 911 on Wednesday and said the child had somehow accessed the gun and accidentally fired the 9 mm semiautomatic weapon, killing his mother. Miramar Police said the father, who has not been identified, has a concealed weapons permit for the firearm.

Police are questioning the man, but no arrests have been made.

The father, who was not married to 33-year-old Julia Bennett, was visiting her apartment when the shooting occurred Wednesday night.

Bennett's family does not believe the child shot her and said the boy doesn't understand what happened.

"He misses his mother. He keeps calling 'mommy, mommy'," his great aunt, Marva Anglin, said. "It's very sad."

Judge Arlene Simon, in a hearing Friday morning, ordered the boy to stay with Anglin and his great-grandmother.

Family members said Bennett worked at a hospital and was going to school. They have never met the child's father, but told the judge they did not want him in their home for supervised visits with the child.

The judge granted that request, ruling the father could have supervised visits with the toddler as long as it is outside of Anglin's home.

Bennett's aunt, Valerie Thompson, said they are still reeling from her death.

"We were so devastated. We could not believe it," she said.

A telephone call and e-mail to Miramar Police was not immediately returned Friday.

The Department of Children and Families has met with Anglin's family and said they would assist with whatever services were needed, including child care.



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