Joseph D. Charlton, 34, a convicted felon and father of three, was taken into custody without incident Tuesday morning after police charged him with endangering the welfare of a child, illegal weapons possession and violating a new city ordinance requiring adults to keep firearms out of the hands of children The (Portland) Oregonian said Wednesday.
The oldest of his children, a boy, 11, used Charlton's .22-caliber derringer pistol and, along with another boy age 7, attempted to car-jack 22-year-old Amy Garrett in a church parking lot, police allege. Garrett drove away after the boys showed her the loaded gun and a backpack with bullets in it and demanded her pickup and cellphone.
A child who lives next to the church ran home to tell his parents he'd seen the boys with a gun and those individuals called police, who located Charlton's son, who's been charged in juvenile court, and the 7-year-old who wasn't charged.
The city of Portland passed a responsible gun ownership law two years ago that makes it a crime if children wind up in possession of a parent or guardian's firearm. Police said they weren't sure how the boy got a hold of Charlton's pistol, but noted because he is a convicted felon he shouldn't have had any guns in the house.
"Adults keeping their weapons out of reach of children is not only basic common sense, in Portland, it is the law," Portland Mayor Sam Adams said.