Richmond toddler shooting suspect could face mandatory time for priors

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-06 00:01:49-04

RICHMOND, Va. – The person who shot a 23-month-old girl in Richmond’s Hillside Court neighborhood on Sunday night, June 1, surrendered himself to police.

The male who surrendered has been identified as Dontrell M. Mason, 21, of the 2100 block of Mimosa Street. Mason has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and additional charges are pending.

He turned himself in Thursday afternoon with his lawyer. This shooting was accidental, according to the suspect. Police sources said he was playing with the gun when it discharged. The male is not related to the child.

The child was shot Sunday night, about 10:00 p.m., along the 1400 block of Harwood Street.

Richmond Police detectives have investigated throughout the week, and the Richmond Police Chief and city of Richmond Mayor held a special meeting to discuss violence against children.


Police have been in touch with Child Protective Services regarding other children in the home.

The one-year-old shooting victim was taken to the hospital with injuries that were considered "non life-threatening,” according to police. She wasn't released until Thursday.

Mason has a lengthy criminal record with past cases in Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond. But from what we've dug up none of his felony convictions was for a violent crime.

Police credit the community and investigative work in the identification of Mason, who has had some trouble in his past.  That means he likely faces mandatory jail time, according to CBS-6 legal expert Todd Stone.

"The accidental shooting is usually the reckless use of a firearm charge and that's a misdemeanor,” said Stone.  “But when it's done by a felon in possession of a weapon, that aggravates it.  So the possession charge will get him from two to five years of mandatory time, if his previous convictions were  violent offenses.”

Police say Mason could also face additional charges.

Neighbors, many of whom refused to speak on camera, said they were fed up with crime in the neighborhood.

“It’s just mind-blowing, you know? You just always have to keep your eyes on your child at all times,” said Quachaunda Meredith, who pointed out that her daughter is always within arms reach when she plays outside.

“It’s just that bullets has everybody’s name on it,” said Darzell Tucker, a mother of two. “That’s how I look at it.”

Detectives still ask anyone with any information about this crime to please call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip. Both methods are anonymous.