BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Rejoice Shanetta Lavett Clayton, 21, was arrested yesterday after an investigator with the Department of Children and Families reported that Clayton allegedly endangered her children on two occasions, one of which involved giving her 18-month-old a gun and taking a video of him waving it around.
The investigator told an Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy that Clayton’s children are 18 months old and 6 months old and showed him a video of the older child playing with a gun. The video reportedly showed the child waving the gun around, pointing it at the person taking the video, pointing it at himself, and placing the barrel of the gun near his mouth. The investigator also told the deputy that a second incident involved a report of a shot fired inside the residence while the children were present.
Post Miranda, Clayton agreed to speak with an Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy about her children, and reportedly told him that she was not home when the video was taken and that it was taken by another person, but she later reportedly said that she took the video herself. She reportedly said another associate had brought the gun to the residence and that she had checked to make sure it was unloaded, but the deputy reported that she was unable to demonstrate how to clear a firearm. The deputy reported that she later admitted that she never checked the gun to see if it was loaded.
Clayton also reportedly told the deputy that she was not home during the second incident and had left the children in someone else’s care, but she would not or could not provide the name of the babysitter. According to the deputy, she originally said that she didn’t know anything about a gunshot in the apartment and that the noise was from a friend “blowing up the microwave,” but she later admitted that she was aware of a gun shot. She reportedly told the deputy that the older child was lying on the living room floor when the gun was discharged into the ceiling in the same room. The deputy reported that a small bullet hole was found in the middle of the living room ceiling.
The deputy wrote that Clayton repeatedly told different versions of her stories about both incidents, adding different names throughout the interview. He wrote that she was unable to provide the real names of any of the other people involved and “admitted that the majority of the individuals were also juveniles whom she only considered ‘associates’ and didn’t know well.”
Clayton has been charged with three counts of child endangerment and has been released.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.