A mother accused of manslaughter after a 2-year-old boy fatally shot her father

A Florida woman was charged Monday with manslaughter after her 2-year-old son found a gun in his home and accidentally shot his father in the back, killing him, authorities said.

Father Reggie Mabry, 26, had been playing a video game at his home in Orlando, Florida, last month when one of his three children managed to grab a Glock 19 and fired, according to an arrest report. sheriff of Orange County. Office.

Mr Mabry and his wife, Marie Ayala, 28, were convicted of crimes and the law did not allow them to possess weapons, Orange County Sheriff John Mina told a news conference on Monday. They were on parole for child neglect and narcotics charges, he said.

Ms Ayala was charged with manslaughter, culpable negligence and possession of a firearm by a criminal, authorities said. She could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.

“The weapon was not stored properly,” Sheriff Mina said. “In fact, it was easily accessible even to a 2-year-old, and the result is a tragedy.”

Authorities said it was unclear exactly how the boy was able to get the weapon.

The charges came at a time when gun control measures are being proposed at the federal and nationwide levels following the mass shootings, and when gun safety is looming in the minds of Americans tired of violence. The accidental murder of Mr. Mabry also highlights the unwanted violence that can result from easy access to weapons in the United States, gun control supporters say.

Last year, 163 people in the United States were inadvertently shot dead by children, according to data from Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group. So far this year, there have been 46 such deaths, according to the organization.

“This is an all-American crisis where children can easily access unsafe loaded firearms and injure themselves or others,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said by telephone on Monday.

Such shootings, he added, are rooted in the “negligence of gun owners.”

On May 26, when Orlando authorities responded to a report of a house shooting on a dead end street, investigators initially believed they were dealing with a suicide death, according to the report. arrest.

But then Ms Ayala told them it was her little boy who had fired the gun, Sheriff Mina said. The family had heard a “loud pop,” which caused Ms. Ayala to get out of bed and find her husband bleeding on the floor, according to the report. According to the report, he disarmed the weapon and began making chest compressions to Mr. Mabry.

Then, when her husband was taken to a hospital, she asked her 5-year-old son how he had managed to “get” the 2-year-old boy, but the boy could not explain how he had managed to get the weapon. he replied. that his little brother had just “thrown Daddy,” the arrest report states.

When investigators asked Ms. Ayala where they kept the gun, “their answers changed frequently,” the arrest report says: she first said in a purple bag that she was kept on the ground, then that she was in a compartment and then it was in a closet box or in a safe that broke at that time.

“He couldn’t explain how the gun fell from the bag, with a high-capacity magazine inserted, while it was trimmed and zipped,” the report states.

Ms Ayala later admitted to authorities that “any child in the room could have figured out how to take the gun out of the bag,” the report states.

“Gun owners who do not properly insure their firearms are only a fraction of a second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home,” Sheriff Mina said.

In Congress, proposals for arms control are being considered at the urging of President Biden, who has acknowledged the political realities that could make him one more president for not taking action on weapons.

One of the bills before the House of Representatives would impose sanctions on people who fail to secure a weapon. It would only apply to homes where a minor “is likely to have access to it” or where a person living with a prohibited weapon lives.

James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, said that while legislation could help, he doubted it would significantly reduce such deaths.

“If a child grabs a gun, they will kill themselves, you or another family member,” he said. “And if that’s not a deterrent, then whatever the prosecutor does won’t make a difference.”

During the pandemic, unintentional deaths from child gunfire increased because “more children were at home with uninsured weapons,” Ms. Watts said. Everytown for Gun Safety estimates that by 2022, 4.6 million children will live in a home with at least one weapon that is not securely stored.

Sheriff Mina said the tragedy in Orlando was “100% preventable” and caused three children to lose both parents.

“Her father is dead. Her mother is in prison,” he said. “And a little boy has to live his life knowing he shot his father.”

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