Couple charged in boy’s accidental shooting death

BY JOEL CURRIER St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joel Currier • 314-340-8132 @joelcurrier on Twitter



St. Louis Post Dispatch


ST. LOUIS — Prosecutors have charged a couple in the Aug. 31 accidental shooting death of a 21-month-old St. Louis boy. Khori Patterson’s mother, Alea Little, 24, and her boyfriend, Donnell Straughter, 30, each were charged Friday with one count of child endangerment resulting in death. Little lives in the 900 block of Melvin Avenue where the boy found a gun and shot himself. Straughter lives in the 1800 block of Meadow Trails Drive in unincorporated St. Louis County near Florissant. The charges against the couple say Little and Straughter were lying in bed with Khori at Little’s home in the city’s Baden neighborhood about 1 p.m. when the boy crawled off the bed and left the room. A few minutes later, charges said, Little heard a gunshot and found Khori slumped over in a pool of blood. Khori had shot himself in the head. Little told police that Straughter had put a gun on a television stand the night before and that the gun would have been within the boy’s reach, charges said. She also said she knew the gun was there and that neither she nor Straughter moved it. According to charges, Little also told police Straughter told her that after finding Khori, he said, “They can’t know I had this gun. They can’t know he shot himself with this gun.” Straughter then drove off in his vehicle, leaving Little at home with Khori, charges said. Straughter did not go to the hospital where Khori was taken and did not respond to efforts to reach him. A neighbor reported hearing a gunshot and seeing a man run from the home and drive off in a vehicle, charges said. The boy’s grandfather, Lee Little, told the Post-Dispatch his daughter called him right after the shooting, and he rushed over from his home about 3 miles away. Police arrived and decided they did not have time to wait for an ambulance. The boy’s grandfather said he held Khori in his arms in the police SUV as an officer drove toward the hospital and met up with an ambulance. “I kept telling him to breathe, and he would take a breath,” Lee Little said. “I said, ‘Khori, if you hear me, hug me.’ He wrapped his arm around me and he took a breath — and he never took another one.” Lee Little said his grandson loved to accompany him on neighborhood walks and play with all the dogs on the block. He said Khori also loved animals, eating ice cubes and running up and down the neighborhood street. “The walks were my way of teaching him about birds and flowers and dogs and squirrels,” Little told the Post-Dispatch. “And we would go over the ABCs and go over our numbers. He was just a wonderful kid, and he was going to be a wonderful person one day.” A judge ordered Alea Little and Straughter held without bail. They were not in custody Saturday.