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Augusta Boy Dies After Shooting Himself with Unsecured Gun

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A 4-year-old Augusta boy has died from injuries suffered when he accidentally shot himself in the head two weeks ago.

Zykee Ryans died Saturday at Wellstar MCG Health, Coroner Mark Bowen announced Monday. Ryans shot himself after finding a gun laying around a residence packed with children on the evening of Nov. 12 at Norris Place Apartments, authorities said.

The teen who left the unsecured gun lying around the residence, 19-year-old Ladarion Ryans, is being sought by police. Both he and his mother, 35-year-old Brittany Senita Ryans, are facing charges of murder in the second degree and child cruelty.

Britttany Ryans was allegedly in the kitchen when the 4 year old shot himself with the unsecured weapon around 11 p.m. Nov. 12, authorities said. Brittany Ryans remained in the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Monday without bond for the murder and five counts of child cruelty.

Several other children, ages 9-15, were present either in the kitchen or living room at the apartment, also known as The Vista @1931, located at 1931 Murphy Road in Augusta. The other children began screaming and running to Brittany Ryans after the gunfire, authorities said.

Ladarion is wanted for the same murder offense and five counts of child cruelty.

In 2018, Brittany Ryan left seven children in horrid conditions inside the Budget Inn hotel. She was 29 at the time and had lots of excuses for why the children were alone. At the end of the day, she was charged with deprivation of a minor and six counts of contributing to the deprivation of a minor. She was later convicted and ordered to serve 90 days in jail and some probation.

The children made several 911 calls and hung up before deputies traced the call to a room at the Budget Inn. Deputy Shane Duggan found seven children, including an 8-month-old baby and others ages, 1, 1, 4, 5, 9 and 13.

Here is what the deputy observed in the hotel room:

• One bed and unclean floors

• Trash and empty beer cans on the floor.

• No food for the older children or formula for the babies in the room.

• The babies’ diapers were soaked and that there were no diapers for the babies or sheets on the bed.

Deputy Duggan called Ryans on her cell phone, but she couldn’t keep her story straight. She said she was on Peach Orchard Road but then said she had gotten off work and was headed to get money from her mother at the Augusta Lodge, a report says.

DFACS was notified and the children were given to their grandmother.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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