A two-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his dad after his parents left a loaded gun unattended, local authorities have revealed.
When police arrived at Reggie Mabry’s house in east Orlando on May 26, they found the 26-year-old on the ground with a gunshot wound and his wife Marie Ayala performing CPR.
Law enforcement initially believed Reggie, who later died in hospital, had shot himself.
But the eldest of the couple’s three children later told police his two-year-old brother had pulled the trigger, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at a news conference.
The gun was ‘not properly stored and easily accessible’ in a bag that Reggie had left on the ground.
The toddler is understood to have come across the firearm and shot his dad in the back while he was playing a video game on a computer, court documents said.
All five family members, including a five-month-old girl, were in the same room when the incident took place.
Both parents were on parole at the time after multiple offenses of child neglect and drug use, the sheriff said.
Mr Mina said he could not ’emphasize strongly enough’ that guns ‘need to be secured and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times’.
‘Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their homes,’ he added.
‘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.
Such tragedies are not uncommon in the United States.
In August 2021, a two-year-old found a gun that had been left in a Paw Patrol backpack and fatally shot his mum in the head while she taking part in a video conference.
The latest accident also comes as the debate over gun regulations rages in the country, after several deadly mass shootings in a supermarket, hospital and primary school, among others.