WEST BATH – A West Bath man has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after his 4-year-old stepson grabbed a gun off a dresser and fired a bullet into a neighbor’s apartment.

A gunshot was reported at 145 New Meadows Road in West Bath at around 8 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office.

A 4-year old boy picked up a handgun and fired it, police said.  The shot penetrated the wall and entered an adjacent apartment.

The weapon was unsecured on a dresser in the parent’s bedroom.

No one was hurt.

The step-father had allegedly removed the weapon from a closet, placed it on the dresser and left the room to retrieve his holster and belt.

While the step-father was away, deputies said the 4-year old grabbed the firearm and fired a single shot. The boy then dropped the weapon, a semi-automatic pistol.

The bullet was recovered in the neighboring apartment after it passed through a wall, a closet door and some clothing, police said.

The resident of the apartment was home at the time and heard a pop but was not aware of the shot until notified by the deputies.

Stephen Ambrose, 24, has been charged with with endangering the welfare of a child. His court date is January 18, 2022, at the West Bath District Court.

“The issue of adults leaving handguns unattended, in the presence of children is a serious problem. Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe. If you are going to own a gun, be responsible. We encourage gun owners to secure their weapons with gunlocks or keep them in a safe location, away from children,” Sagadahoc Sheriff Joel Merry said.

In May, on the same road in West Bath, a 2-year-old picked up a loaded gun and injured himself and his parents. The 2-year-old boy picked up an unsecured handgun on a nightstand and fired it, according to officials.

The mother was shot in the leg, the father had a minor injury to the back of his head and the boy was hit in the face by the recoil of the gun. His father was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.