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Evansville Police Department
Friday January 9th, 2015 :: 05:58 p.m. CST


Evansville couple arrested after police discover a video of the woman's 12 month old son playing with a handgun

Evansville Police arrested two people on various charges, including child neglect, after the couple allowed a 12 month old boy to play with a .40 caliber handgun.
Police arrested 19 year old Michael Barnes on Thursday night after he had agreed to meet with someone to sell a handgun. Barnes had an active warrant for Armed Robbery. Unbeknownst to Barnes, the person he had agreed to sell the handgun to was an undercover officer. When Barnes arrived at the meeting location across from Delaware Elementary School, he was approached by officers and tried to run. He was caught by a Vanderburgh County K-9 Unit a short distance away. The gun he had agreed to sell was found at the scene of his arrest. He was arrested for Resisting Law Enforcement with a Weapon, Carrying a Handgun without a Permit, and Carrying a Handgun without a Permit within 500 Feet of a School.
During the follow up investigation on Friday, detectives with the ATF/EPD Task Force were examining Barnes' cell phone for evidence related to the attempted sale of the handgun. Investigators found two videos on the phone that showed a 12 month old boy playing with a handgun that appears to be the same one that was recovered from Barnes during his arrest. Barnes can be heard telling the child to say "pow" on multiple occasions while the child plays with the gun. The video also shows the child placing the muzzle of the gun in his mouth. At no point does Barnes try to stop the child from playing with the gun.
Investigators determined the child's mother, 22 year old Toni Wilson, was present when the video was made. Wilson had been with Barnes during his Thursday night arrest, but was released at the scene. She denied knowing Barnes had a gun at that time.
Investigators went to Wilson's home at 920 N Elliott on Friday afternoon to speak with her. When confronted about the video, she claimed it was a pellet gun.
Wilson was arrested for Child Neglect, Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon, and Allowing a Child to Possess a Firearm. Barnes is also facing those charges in addition to his original charges from his Thursday night arrest.
The 12 month old and two 1 month old twins were placed into emergency care. Barnes is not the father of the 12 month old, but is the father of the twins.

Evansville Police Department
15 Northwest Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
Evansville, IN 47708

Emergency: 9-1-1

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