ORLANDO, Fla. – Authorities arrested a 28-year-old woman on charges including manslaughter after her 2-year-old son shot and killed his father with a gun that hadn’t been properly stored, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and WFTV.
Marie Ayala told deputies that her husband, 26-year-old Reggie Mabry, was playing video games on May 26 in a room with their three young children when she heard a loud pop, WFTV reported. She found her husband with a gunshot wound, disarmed the gun and began chest compressions, according to the news station.
When deputies arrived, they found Ayala performing CPR on Mabry, Sheriff John Mina said Monday. Mabry was taken to a hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
Investigators initially believed the shooting might have been a suicide. However, Mina said the couple’s 5-year-old son told authorities that his 2-year-old brother shot their father. The couple’s 5-month-old child was also in the room at the time of the shooting, officials said. None of the children were injured.
“Through their investigation, detectives were able to determine that, although both Mabry and Ayala were convicted felons, they had left an illegal firearm in the room they shared with their young children,” Mina said, adding that the couple was on probation on child neglect and narcotics charges. “The gun was not properly stored. In fact, it was easily accessible even to a 2-year-old, and the result is a tragedy … in this community that no one really can comprehend.”
Court records obtained by WFTV showed the gun, a Glock 19, had been in a bag on the floor near some laundry. Authorities believe it might have fallen out onto the floor, the news station reported.
Deputies arrested Ayala on charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and violation of probation.
Officials noted Monday that the couple’s children “will likely carry emotional wounds forever.”
“These young children have effectively lost both of their parents,” Mina said. “Their father is dead, their mother is in jail and a young child has to live their life knowing that he shot his father. These tragedies are 100% preventable.”
Authorities urged gunowners to keep their firearms safely stored.
“If you own a gun, always be responsible,” deputies said. “Take the extra steps to secure it properly and keep you and your family safe.”