Warning: This story contains graphic details that some may find disturbing.
A father was under arrest Thursday as police investigated the death of his 2-year-old son, possibly from a gunshot to the head, at a Bucks County apartment complex.
Jorddan Thornton, 27, of Philadelphia, was charged with child endangerment after police arrived at the Racquet Club Apartments and Townhomes along Veteran Highway in Levittown and found him holding the child as he bled heavily from the head shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to a criminal complaint filed against the father.
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“Julius Thornton would have turned 3 this Christmas Eve,” a somber Matt Weintraub, the Bucks County district attorney, said during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
Neighbors and the criminal complaint indicated the elder Thornton was screaming and running around for help before officers and an ambulance arrived Wednesday night.
Thornton told a responding officer that he fell asleep while watching Netflix with his son and that the boy likely hit his head on the headboard and cracked his skull while jumping on the bed, according to the complaint.
However, the officer determined the child’s wound looked like a gunshot, and when he went inside the apartment, he found blood on the floor and ceiling, as well as a piece of skull on the floor, the complaint indicated.
“They had to pull the boy out of the stretcher and the boy’s head was – it was morbid,” neighbor Ryan Spence told NBC10.
Another neighbor told police she heard a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot before Thornton ran out screaming, “Help me” around two minutes later.
Neither the child's mother nor anyone else was in the apartment at the time of the incident, police said.
The boy was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:36 p.m. A doctor told police the child had a “circular indentation” in his head consistent with a gunshot wound, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint said that Thornton told police there were guns in the apartment but that they were put away in drawers.
Authorities were still investigating whether Thornton shot his son or whether, at “a very horrible ‘at best,’” he accidentally shot himself due to a “dereliction of duty” from his father, Weintraub said.
It was unclear if Thornton had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.