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Gouverneur man charged in death of infant

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GOUVERNEUR — A 7-month-old boy is dead after allegedly being thrown early Tuesday.

Gary L. McKenzie II, 22, of 154 Hailesboro St., Apt 26, was arrested and charged with reckless assault of a child, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, after he allegedly flung the infant to the floor forcibly, causing an inoperable brain injury including hemorrhaging, at 1:39 a.m. Tuesday, according to court documents.

Mr. McKenzie attempted CPR on the baby, Braylin W. Chambers, according to state police.

According to Mr. McKenzie’s Facebook page, he has been in a relationship with the infant’s mother, Savana Goble, since Oct. 26. He identified himself to police as her fiancée.

Fort Drum’s public affairs office said Mr. McKenzie is a private first class and petroleum supply specialist in A Company of the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He has been on post since July 2011.

According to police, Ms. Goble was at work at the time of the incident and met first responders at E.J. Noble Hospital, where the child initially was taken.

Dr. Gary R. Wakeman at E.J. Noble informed police of numerous bruises on the infant’s forehead, Trooper Bryan C. Shippee said in his statement. Trooper Shippee said that when Ms. Goble arrived at the hospital, he asked her about the bruising on her child and she said it was a result of the child falling down stairs three or four days earlier.

Dr. Donald C. Schuessler Jr., medical director at E.J. Noble, said the child would have to be transported to Syracuse and that the prognosis was not good, according to Trooper Shippee.

Gouverneur Rescue took Ms. Goble, the infant and medical staff to Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where he was admitted to the pediatric critical care unit. The infant initially was placed on life support, but he was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m.

Mr. McKenzie was arraigned in Gouverneur Town Court and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correcgional Facility, with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

The investigation is continuing by state police in conjunction with the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office. An autopsy is scheduled today at the Onondaga County medical examiner’s office in Syracuse.

Lt. Scott K. Heggelke of the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation said the results of the report will be shared with St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé, after which he said discussions on additional charges involving the infant’s death will be held.

Mr. McKenzie told Trooper Patrick E. Loveland he was playing video games and then went to bed. When he got into bed, he “heard the baby fussing.”

When he went to go check on the child, he picked him up to burp him and the child became sick.

“Gary stated he became scared,” Trooper Loveland said in his statement. He “backed up tripping over a diaper bag causing him to drop the baby on its head.”

Mr. McKenzie also reported to police that the baby’s body was limp when he picked him up.

“Gary tried to wake the baby up by tickling his feet, during which the baby stopped breathing,” Trooper Loveland said.

Mr. McKenzie said he started CPR and the baby “came back up” and gasped for air, at which time he called 911.

Staff writer Gordon Block contributed to this report.

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