Marie Ayala, a 28-year-old Florida mother, was arrested and charged with manslaughter after her 2-year-old son came across a firearm and accidentally killed his father.
The father, 26-year-old Reggie Mabry, was shot in late May while playing video games in his home in Metro Orlando.
According to Fox News, Marie Ayala and her 26-year-old husband Reggie Mabry were convicted felons on probation for child neglect and drug charges. As a result, they were prohibited by Florida law from owning a gun.
Due to Ayala's prior criminal history, she is being charged with the following: possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, violation of probation and manslaughter by culpable negligence.
How is Marie Ayala responsible?
According to authorities, Marie Ayala and her husband Reggie Mabry had stored the gun irresponsibly. Reggie Mabry was playing video games on his computer late at night when his 2-year-old son found a bag where Ayala had stored a pistol. After obtaining it, the child proceeded to accidentally shoot his father in the back, killing him.
According to Wion news, all 5 members of the family were present when Reggie Mabry was shot. No one else was injured in the incident.
In a news conference, Orange County Sheriff John Mina condemned the couple's neglect.
“The gun was not properly stored. In fact, it was easily accessible, even to a 2-year-old, and the result is a tragedy that no one in this community can really comprehend.”
The Sheriff added:
“Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their homes.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, when detectives entered the home, Marie Ayala told them that her 5-year-old son witnessed her 2-year-old firing the gun. However, according to the arrest report, the 5-year-old was completely oblivious that the younger child had obtained the firearm.
Ayala's children, aged 5, 2 and 5 months, have been placed in the custody of the Florida department of Children and families.
In his statement, Sheriff John Mina spoke further of the tragic event.
"Now these young children have effectively lost both of their parents. Their father is dead. Their mother is in jail, and a young child has to live their life knowing that he shot his father."
According to RTE, in the first five months of 2022, the nation saw more than 17000 gun deaths, with 650 of the victims being children. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, almost 41,000 people are killed by gun violence in the US every year.