Two-year-old US boy shoots and kills father after finding gun at home
- The parents, who were not legally allowed to possess firearms, had left the weapon ‘easily accessible’ in a bag, authorities say
- The mother has since been jailed on several charges, meaning the boy and his two young siblings ‘have effectively lost both of their parents’, the sheriff added
A two-year-old boy shot and killed his father at their east Orange County home last month, Sheriff John Mina said on Monday.
Mina said the boy’s 26-year-old father, Reggie Mabry, was found wounded about noon May 26, after deputies went to their home in response to an emergency call about a shooting. The man’s wife, 28-year-old Marie Ayala, was performing CPR when rescuers arrived.
Mabry was pronounced dead at the hospital and deputies initially thought the shooting was a suicide, the sheriff said at a news conference.
But then, the couple’s five-year-old child told detectives that the two-year-old had fired the fatal shot. A five-month-old was also home at the time, Mina said.
Investigators discovered the couple, both of whom were on probation for child neglect and narcotics charges and had felony convictions making it illegal for them to possess firearms, had left a gun “easily accessible” in a bag, where the two-year-old apparently found it, Mina said.
Ayala has since been jailed on several charges.
“I can’t emphasise strongly enough that our guns need to be secure and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times,” Mina said.
“Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their homes.”
The sheriff said the couple’s children “have effectively lost both of their parents” as a result of the adults’ negligence.
“Their father is dead, their mother is in jail and a young child has to live their life knowing that he shot his father,” Mina said.
“These tragedies are 100 per cent preventable.”
The children were not harmed and are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Mina said.