A 2-year-old Florida boy accidentally shot dead his father after getting hold of a loaded gun his parents had left unattended, police said on Monday. The boy's mother Marie Ayala, 28, has been charged with manslaughter, culpable negligence, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Ayala and her now-dead husband Reggie Mabry are convicted felons and were not allowed to own guns. Police have launched an investigation to find out how the two got possession of the gun, which eventually went on to become the murder victim. Authorities said that if convicted of manslaughter, Ayala could face up to 15 years in prison.
The incident happened last month when Reggie Mabry, 26, was playing video games at his home in Orlando, Florida. All his three children were playing near him, while a loaded gun remained unattended. One of the three children took hold of the gun and fired a shot, hitting Mabry in the back.
Mabry immediately collapsed. According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to an emergency call about a man that was shot at Tobie Court on May 26. They then transported Mabry to the local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The three children â ages 5 months, 2 years old and 5 â were home at the time of the shooting, but were not injured, deputies said. Detectives from the Orange County Sheriff's Office's Homicide Unit, who respond to all death calls, first mistook the case for suicide until they discovered Mabry had been shot in the back.
According to officials, the 5-year-old told detectives that their father was shot by his 2-year-old sibling. The toddler could easily access and shoot the gun, according to detectives on the scene.
Following that, Ayala, the mother of three, was arrested and has been charged with manslaughter.
It's still unknown how the two-year-old toddler got his hands on the Glock 19, but Ayala admitted that "any child in the room could have figured out how to get the gun out of the bag."
"The gun was not properly stored. In fact, it was easily accessible even to a 2-year-old, and the result is a tragedy," Sheriff Mina of Orange County said. "These young children have effectively lost both of their parents. And a young child has to live his life knowing he shot his father," he added.
More importantly, both Ayala and Mabry, are convicted felons and were not allowed to own guns. It also remains unclear if the gun was owned by either of them or if it belongs to someone else and how they got possession of the weapon.
Also, both Ayala and Mabry were on probation for child neglect and narcotics charges, Sheriff John Mina of Orange County told a press conference on Monday.
Another two-year-old child discovered a revolver left in a Paw Patrol bag in August 2021 and tragically shot his mother in the head while she was participating in a video conference. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control organization, 163 persons in the United States were shot and killed unintentionally by children. According to the organization, the figure is 46 this year.
Authorities said that if convicted of manslaughter, Ayala could face up to 15 years in prison.