Police tape

Father arrested after tot boy dies from gunshot wound to the head; second suspect on the run: Police

A California father was arrested this week after his young son was shot in the head and died, the Visalia Times-Delta reports.

William Stallworth, 25, was taken into custody after the shooting occurred in Visalia, California, about 45 miles southeast of Fresno.

Stallworth called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday to report that his 2-year-old son had been shot in his head. Authorities are searching for a second man who may have taken the gun used in the shooting, according to the newspaper.

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The incident occurred inside a vehicle parked at a home where the boy’s mother lives. She was not at the residence at the time of the shooting.

Investigators believe the gun fired and then Stallworth gave the weapon to the second man, who fled the scene. Police have not released a description of the man and are searching for him.

“We are still investigating a motive,” Visalia Police Lt. Brent Abbott said. “We are determining whether it was intentional or accidental.”

William Stallworth [Police Handout]
Stallworth has a previous misdemeanor conviction and a pending criminal case, which may prevent him from owning a gun legally. It was not immediately clear who owned the gun.

Authorities have detained Stallworth on suspicion of homicide and child endangerment. Jessica Wallace, the boy’s mother, told the newspaper in an email that Stallworth was a loving father.

“There wasn’t foul play by his father,” Wallace wrote. “His father loved his son dearly.”

Stallworth is in jail and prosecutors have until Monday to file criminal charges.

Neighbors told the newspaper they heard noises and screaming before police and emergency responders arrived at the scene. Residents said they had seen the boy with his mother outside from time to time, but otherwise, the family did not speak much.

“Obviously, it’s a tragedy any time a child is involved in something like this,” Abbott said.

Anyone with information about the case or the wanted man should call Detective Bryan Somavia at 559-713-4727.

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[Feature Photo: William Stallworth/Visalia Police Department]