Marrero teen killed; shooter said it was accidental

A teenager in Marrero died Sunday after being shot in what the shooter said was an accident.

Christian Cardon, 23, told investigators he didn’t know there was a bullet in the chamber of his new AR-15 semi-automatic rifle when he pulled the trigger early Sunday morning.

A single shot fired, striking 16-year-old Trey Stahl, of Marrero, in the neck, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato said.

Stahl was pronounced dead at the scene, Fortunato said.

Cardon, 23, 1718 Gulf Drive, Gretna, was booked into Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on one count of negligent homicide.

Cardon told investigators that he had brought his recently purchased rifle to a friend’s house at 2026 James Drive in Marrero to show to a group of five people, including Stahl.

Before bringing the gun inside, Cardon removed the magazine and left it in his vehicle, Fortunato said, but failed to realize there was still a live round in the chamber.

He walked inside and, when he attempted to clear the weapon, it fired, striking Stahl, Fortunato said.

It was the second time in a week that a child has been killed in what authorities are calling accidental shootings.

Brandajah Smith, 5, shot herself in the head with a .38 caliber gun June 23 after her mother left her locked and alone in her house on North Galvez Street.

Brandajah’s mother, Laderika Smith, 28, a convicted thief and prostitute, was booked with second-degree murder in the child’s death. The charge, punishable by an automatic life sentence, came after prosecutors and police believe Smith was grossly negligent in leaving her daughter alone with a loaded weapon in the house.

Louisiana has the nation’s second-highest rate of childhood gun deaths, after Alaska. In 10 years, more than 1,000 children were killed by bullets in the state — 739 were murdered, 224 committed suicide and 89 were killed accidentally.

Gunfire is one of the top three causes of death for children nationwide — killing twice as many as cancer, according to a report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The rate at which children are inadvertently shot to death in Louisiana is three times the American average. Between 2007 and 2011, at least 89 kids in the state were killed in what is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the accidental discharge of weapons.