Toddler's Mother Searches For Answers About Son's Shooting Death

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

Police say a Rocky Mount toddler accidentally shot and killed himself with an off-duty Wilson County Sheriff's deputy's gun last month, and now the child's mother is looking for answers.

Katrina Terry says Wilson County sheriff's deputy Marcus Ruffin wasn't working April 16th, and picked up her son to take him for a haircut in Wilson. She says Ruffin isn't her son's biological father, but was his dad in every other way. Terry says the two stopped off at a friends house, and says her son got into Ruffin's car, found his loaded gun, and then shot and killed himself. She says she wants to know why the gun wasn't locked up and why charges haven't been filed yet.

"The gun was positioned like "hey, look at me, play with me. Like I said, my son wanted to be a cop like his daddy. Cops have guns. He was going to touch it." said Terry.

The Wilson Police Department says it finished its investigation into the shooting last Thursday, and handed its findings to the District Attorney's office, which is still investigating. Neither agency wanted to comment, but Wilson police Sergeant John Slaughter says there is a state law that makes it a misdemeanor crime to store a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.

Terry says when her son was just 6 weeks old, Deputy Ruffin, who is currently on paid leave, took out a life insurance policy on him. She spoke with an insurance agent this morning, who said Deputy Ruffin filed a claim Tuesday. Attorney's we spoke with say such a policy isn't unusual.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Barbara Location: Stantonsburg on May 9, 2011 at 06:50 AM
    Marcus Ruffin is a good man and since most of the posters on this site don't seem to know him, it might be best to stop the gossip and questioning. Quit flaming the fire. I know Marcus and know his sorrow. I lost a child myself many years ago in an accident. Accidents happen with children. I am sure the Wilson County Police Department is doing their job and so will the District Attorneys Office. My prayers and yours should go to Marcus and to the child's mother. It is really easy to judge others but things can happen to good people like Marcus. I pray he can come to terms with this terrible tragedy. If you have lost a child, it takes a long time to come to terms with it and saying ugly things about him will not bring the child back. It is not unusual for normal people to take out life insurance policies on their children. The child bore his name so there must have been a strong connection between them. I am praying for you Marcus and hope in coming days you can find some peace with your God. We do not know why bad things happen to good people. We only know that we need to be there and one never knows who will be next to suffer a tragedy like this.
  • by Curmilus Dancy II Location: Pinetops NC on May 8, 2011 at 07:36 PM
    When I seen this on the actual news they stated that it is a misdemeanor for leaving a gun around a child and that charges will come. I don't know what happened however I do trust that after the investigation is completed that the charge will be the same as if he was not a deputy. I don't believe the law reads differently for officers and civilians. I can't related to losing a child so I can't imagine what either one of these adults are going through.
  • by stupid Location: greenvukke on May 8, 2011 at 06:18 PM
    the fact that a 3 year old can pull a trigger is kinda scary.....
  • by LLOYD on May 8, 2011 at 02:38 PM
    I don't belive a three year old can pull the trigger on pistal.Also why did the mother allow him to take out the life insurance with him as the benefciary.Something not right here.
  • by Anonymous on May 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM
    Wondering what's taking so long for charges to be filed. If I'm not mistaken a situation similar to this happen recently & the father was charged & given jail time. And if he wasn't the biological father of my child I wouldn't have allowed him to be the beneficiary on the insurance policy he could have taken the policy out but I would have never ever allowed him to be the beneficiary especially since he wasn't even married to the mother. Something sounds fishy to me.
  • by Anonymous on May 6, 2011 at 05:23 PM
    GOD is on the case. HE CONVICTS hearts and minds. His timing is not our timing, but in due time if you (mom)faint not; GOD'S TRUTH SHALL BE REVEALED. Stay Prayful and encouraged. Let GOD work it out.
  • by Anonymous on May 5, 2011 at 07:50 PM
    I believe that the truth is hidden. I believe that this young man wouldn't shoot himself. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face."
  • by Anonymous on May 5, 2011 at 01:11 PM
    Why is the police office that careless with a loaded gun? Especially since he was caring for the child at that time. And where was the police officer when the child was in the car retrieving the gun. Was the child being supervised at all?... Prayers for the mother and family of this precious child.
  • by Anonymous on May 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM
    I feel the same way you haev to proof to me that a three year old could shot his own self. I remember that it was a crime to leave your gun out without the safety another parent got charge for that in anothestate. That was his fault so what is the differnce I dont care if he was a sheriff something need to be done.
  • by Darle Britt on May 5, 2011 at 09:53 AM
    A mother's love is endless. If this was your child you would want answers to, something don't add up. What about negelance and lack of parential supervision. All weapons have a lock and why wasn't the gun locked up. A Sheriff know's better than that. Let's get gun expert in on this. I thinh it's impossible for a three years to shoot himself!!!!!!
    • reply
      by Shanta on May 5, 2011 at 12:46 PM in reply to Darle Britt
      I believe that are to do something about it. If it was my child I would feel the same way. I believe that a few months ago a guy got charge for leaving a gun out and he receive some time. Right is right and wrong is wrong whether you are a vop or not you deserve to be punish for your action if it were somebody else that would have been done something and arrest the person.
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