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ELON, N.C. (WGHP) — A police officer whose toddler son accidentally fatally shot himself after finding his father’s unsecured gun will remain employed.

Orlando Maynard, an officer with the town of Elon, pleaded guilty to failing to properly secure a firearm to protect a minor on Friday, 13 months after his three-year-old son was fatally wounded by an unsecured handgun.

Orlando Maynard had been on the force for eight months to that point. Prior to that, he served in the military. He was not home at the time of the shooting, according to the police department’s release.

Maynard was placed on administrative leave following the incident. 

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After entering his plea, Maynard received 18 months of probation. The terms of his probation forbid him from both owning and possessing a firearm during that time.

Elon Police Chief Kelly Blackwelder issued the following statement regarding Maynard’s sentencing and future status with the Department:

“First, the tragedy of loss, criminal charge, guilty plea and sentencing, collectively are clearly heartbreaking. A child’s life was taken. And Orlando Maynard has been serving his sentence since June 16, 2021, as he and his family have been working through their loss. We need to make clear, in spite of the criminal charge, this was an accident with a tragic outcome. Prior to this incident, Orlando Maynard was an exemplary employee for the Town of Elon Police Department. Prior to his employment with us, he served our country in the U.S. Army. He has been and will continue to be a part of the Elon family. Orlando Maynard’s status as a sworn officer is now remanded to the NC Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission. In the meantime, Maynard will be employed by the Town of Elon, in a yet-to-be-determined civilian capacity. I want to thank the many community members who have reached out, in various ways, in support of Orlando. I also want to thank the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, for the high degree of professionalism demonstrated during this lengthy and intense investigation. And as I said at the time of this incident, while extremely tragic, it serves as a harsh reminder to gun owners, that weapons should always remain secure. Particularly, if minors live in, or have access to a residence where weapons are stored.”

Chief Kelly Blackwelder