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Man charged shooting involving children on San Pablo Road says whole thing was a 'freak accident'

There were no adults in the house at the time, but the neighbor who called the police was able to stay with the children until authorities arrived.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man has been arrested after an accidental shooting on San Pablo Road last month involving two children.

Matthew Allen Clark, 34, was charged with child neglect and culpable negligence after the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says a 13-year-old boy got into a gun safe and shot his 10-year-old brother accidentally. 

First Coast News spoke with Clark, who says the incident was a "freak accident" while he was at work. He says that he thought the safe was locked and that police later determined there was a faulty mechanism associated with the safe.

This has not been confirmed by police.

The incident occurred in the 1700 block of South San Pablo Road on July 17 between around 7:45 p.m, police say.

The man who made the 911 call told First Coast News he heard a shot between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and started to hear screaming. That man is also a First Coast News employee. *Listen to the 911 call.

The caller says a 13-year-old neighbor was playing with his parent's gun, which they thought was secured in their bedroom. The caller said a single shot hit the child's ten-year-old brother in the leg. A five-year-old was also in the house during the time, but was not injured, the witness said.

There were no adults in the house at the time, but the neighbor who called the police was able to stay with the children until authorities arrived. 

RELATED: Jacksonville police give 69-year-old man a citation after hitting him with vehicle

RELATED: Police: 13-year-old accidentally shot 10-year-old brother at Banyan Bay Apartments in Jacksonville

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