Shanice Kellam shot by four-year-old son

The 24-year-old mother of two told police she woke up in bed with the sensation that someone was hitting her in her sleep. The reality was far worse.

Shanice Kellam realized she was shot in her hand and arm. She then saw that her four-year-old son lay lifeless next to her with a gunshot wound in his chest. A 44 caliber revolver belonging to his father was near his body.

“The preliminary investigation by our state police homicide unit indicates the child gained access to the weapon and the child was apparently there in bed or beside the bed and the gun fired striking the child and the mother,” said State Police Spokesman Greg Shipley.

In the tiny, quiet Eastern Shore town of Hebron, people know each other. Neighbors say four-year-old Jamal Woolford Jr. was well-loved.

“He was a good kid, energetic. He was always smiles. I don't think I ever saw him upset,” said neighbor Richards Logan.

But people in Hebron have also heard the rest of the story—that in their small, ramshackle home, the adults had seen the boy playing with the loaded gun before, but had done nothing to keep it out of their hands.

The boy’s 24-year-old father will be charged for letting the boy have access to the gun.

“It goes on the parents I think if you don't lock up your guns you’re asking for something like this. You can’t have your four-year-old playing with a gun,” said Hebron resident Scott Parker.

The boy’s father—the owner of the high-powered handgun—has a history of drug charges against him. Sources tell ABC7 that he is likely to face some new charges because of what police found in the house—the gun is reportedly illegal, not properly registered and was likely purchased off the streets.