Lawrence dad who left gun out convicted for child endangerment in daughter’s death

LAWRENCE, Kan. — A 33-year-old man who left a loaded semi-automatic handgun within reach of toddlers pleaded no contest to charges resulting from his daughter’s death.

In exchange for the plea to two counts of aggravated child endangerment, prosecutors dropped an involuntary manslaughter charge Friday against Chance Smith, of Lawrence. He will be sentenced Nov. 7.

Smith’s 1-year-old daughter, Autumn Grace Smith, was hit by a bullet and died in September 2017 at the family’s home.

Smith told police that he was outside for five or 10 minutes and didn’t hear a gunshot. When he came back in he found a 2-year-old boy crying and Autumn upstairs, shot.

The Lawrence Journal-World report Smith’s attorney said he’s expected to be placed on probation and ordered not to own any guns.