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Parents charged in 4-year-old's shooting

Medford police have charged the parents of a 4-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the foot on Saturday with misdemeanor neglect and reckless endangering charges.

Renee Lejahn Bergdorf and Christopher Todd Bergdorf, both 44, of the 2700 block of Merriman Road, were cited on charges of recklessly endangering another person and second-degree child neglect. They are scheduled to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Dec. 2.

Police said the 4-year-old, who has a twin brother, was napping on his parents' bed and found a .40-caliber handgun on the headboard when he woke up. He fired a shot that hit his left ankle and foot at about 3 p.m. Saturday.

Christopher Bergdorf applied pressure to the wound until emergency medical crews arrived. An ambulance took the boy to Rogue Valley Medical Center, where he was treated, police said earlier.

"The neglect charge stems from the parents leaving the child alone in a space where he could get access to the gun," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said. "Often with children, curiosity gets the best of them."

Doney noted that a large number of homes in Medford contain guns and that parents should be extra careful when storing firearms when children are present.

"It's all about safety when firearms and children are concerned," Doney said. "If you own guns and have children, it is important you store them in a locked cabinet."

The child has been released from Rogue Valley Medical Center after being treated for what Doney described as "a pretty serious injury."

"We don't think he will have any long-lasting issues from the injury, but it was very close to being tragic," Doney said. "Fortunately, it looks like the little guy could make a full recovery."

Doney said many parents try to hide their guns without locking them up.

"Trust me, most kids can find anything you hide in your home," he said. "It's best to secure them with a lock."

Officials have stressed the importance of securing all weapons and repeatedly said that the police department has free gun locks available by calling 774-2268.

Reach Chris Conrad at 776-4471 or cconrad@mailtribune.com.