Updated as of July 19 at 7:26 p.m. to include additional information from the town of Elon police department.

Town of Elon police officer Orlando Maynard pleaded guilty in the accidental shooting death of his three-year-old son on Friday, 13 months after the child found Maynard’s unsecured handgun. Elon Police Chief Kelly Blackwelder said in a statement the police department will continue to employ Maynard. 

“We need to make clear, in spite of the criminal charge, this was an accident with a tragic outcome,” Blackwelder said in the statement. 

Maynard had worked in the Elon police department for eight months prior to the incident, and since then, he has been on administrative leave. He was not home when the shooting happened, but pleaded guilty for failing to properly secure a firearm to protect a minor. Maynard received 18 months of probation after his plea and is not permitted to possess any firearms during that time.

“While extremely tragic, it serves as a harsh reminder to gun owners that weapons should always remain secure. Particularly, if minors live in, or have access to a residence where weapons are stored,” Blackwelder said.