3-Year-Old Fires Shotgun During Mommy's Drug Deal


Go back to your shanties.

A drug deal going down in the parking lot of a Cobb County pharmacy earlier this month was interrupted by a terrific blast when children brought to the deal by their mother, and left in the back seat of a minivan, got hold of the firearm, police said. A 3-year-old pulled the trigger.

The discharge went into the roof of the vehicle, and no one was hurt. But a passerby heard the gunshot and called police.

An officer found two uncooperative adults and learned that a third had fled, according to a Cobb County Police Department report of the Sept. 6 incident. The three adults, all Marietta residents, were arrested.

The state Department of Family and Children Services is investigating, Channel 2 Action News reports.

Events leading up to the incident began when Shayla Sutherland, 28, loaded her two children, ages 3 and 5, into a blue Chrysler Town & Country minivan driven by Leah Porter, 28, police said.

The foursome went to the Rite Aid drug store in the 4600 block of Hicks Road near Austell. They parked outside the store and waited. Brandon Donahue, 30, drove up in a white Mercury and pulled alongside.

“Donahue, Sutherland and Porter were negotiating the sale of prescription medications when a firearm was fired,” Cobb police spokesman Officer Mike Bowman said. “It was determined inside the van was a loaded 12-gauge Mossberg. The children apparently were playing with the shotgun when the trigger was fired, discharging the shotgun.”

Sutherland jumped out of the vehicle and pulled her two children with her, police said. Porter drove off. When an officer arrived, he learned Sutherland had fled into the Rite Aid and left her two children in the back seat of Donahue’s car.

“Donahue lied repeatedly and did not cooperate with officers’ questions,” the police report said. The man was arrested and charged with obstruction.

“Sutherland was also not cooperative and lied repeatedly to officers,” police said. The woman was arrested and charged with giving a false name/date of birth and obstruction, and for using a cell phone in the illicit sale of drugs. She also was arrested under an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.

Porter was stopped a few miles away. She was arrested and charged with reckless conduct.

Sutherland, Porter and Schott have posted bond and been released from Cobb County Jail to await trial, according to the Cobb County Sheriff's inmate website. Sheriff's records spell Sutherland's first name "Shanla."

Police seized the shotgun. They found in the weapon an empty shell casing and two live shotgun slug rounds.