An Orlando, Florida, mother is facing a manslaughter charge after her 2-year-old toddler fatally shot her husband in the couple's bedroom June 6, police said.
According to a press release from the Orange County Sheriff's Office, posted on Facebook, Marie Ayala, 26, is jailed with a manslaughter charge after the couple's 2-year-old toddler accidentally shot her husband, Reggie Mabry, 28, in the back, and he later died.
"Tragedies like this are almost incomprehensible, and they are 100% preventable," the release said. "Make sure you know how to safely store your guns."
According to Florida law, firearm owners must keep weapons securely locked and away from minors unless they have the parent's permission and supervision.
Police said the toddler's 5-year-old older sibling told them that the 2-year-old shot their father, and the couple's third child, a 5-month-old was also at home during the shooting.
Ayala is charged with manslaughter by culpable negligence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Police said both parents were felons and should not have had the weapons to begin with.
"The children were not injured physically, but they will likely carry emotional wounds forever," the department said in the release. "Not only have they effectively lost both parents, the toddler, who accidentally shot his father in the back will have to grow up with the knowledge that his actions caused his dad's death. If you own a gun, always be responsible. Take the extra steps to secure it properly and keep you and your family safe."
Police told Orlando television station WESH 2 that the couple was renting a room in a home on the east side of the city and that Mabry was playing a video game when the shooting occurred.
"The gun was not properly stored, and in fact, it was easily accessible even to a 2-year-old, and the result is a tragedy in this community that no one can comprehend," Orange County Sheriff John Mina told the news outlet. "Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their homes. Now, these young children have effectively lost both of their parents."
The station reported that the couple were both on probation for child neglect and drug charges and were not allowed to possess a firearm under Florida law.
According to the report, the children are now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
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