ORLANDO, Fla. — (TNS) A 2-year-old boy shot and killed his father at their east Orange County home last month, Sheriff John Mina said 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 a 911 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 5-year-old child told detectives that the 2-year-old had fired the fatal shot. A 5-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 2-year-old apparently found it, Mina said.
Ayala has since been jailed on several charges.
“I can’t emphasize 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 kids “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% preventable.”
The children weren’t harmed and are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Mina said.