Florida Mother Arrested for Manslaughter After 2-Year-Old Son Shoots Father

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
June 7, 2022US News
Florida Mother Arrested for Manslaughter After 2-Year-Old Son Shoots Father
Marie Ayala, 28, is facing manslaughter charges in the accidental shooting death of Reggie Mabry, 26. (Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff's Office)

A woman in Orange County, Florida, is facing manslaughter charges after her 2-year-old son appears to have accidentally shot his father with a handgun, killing him, authorities said.

The victim has been identified as Reggie Mabry, 26, and was not allowed to own the gun because he and his wife, Marie Ayala, 28, are convicted felons, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release on Monday.

Ayala was charged with manslaughter by culpable negligence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and violation of probation, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at a news conference, The Associated Press reported.

“The gun was not properly stored,” Mina said. “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.”

Officials said the couple’s 5-year-old child notified police that his little brother had accidentally shot his father. A third child was also in the home.

“The children were not injured physically, but they will likely carry emotional wounds forever,” police said. “Not only have they effectively lost both parents, the toddler who accidentally shot his father in the back will [also] have to grow up with the knowledge that his actions caused his dad’s death.”

The children have been placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Authorities initially thought Mabry committed suicide, but after a preliminary investigation and questioning, the 5-year-old child revealed to investigators that his little brother accidentally pulled the trigger, Local10 reported.

Mabry was transported to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

According to the arrest report, the couple was on probation for child neglect and narcotics possession charges.

The sheriff’s office said the tragedy could have been prevented if the gun had been properly stored.

NTD Photo
Firearm safety guidelines. (Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

“Tragedies like this are almost incomprehensible, and they are 100 percent preventable. Make sure you know how to safely store your guns,” police said. “Florida law requires a loaded firearm in the home to be kept in a locked box/container or secured with a trigger lock if a child under 16 can access it.”

Ayala remained in jail on no bond on Monday, according to an online jail record. Online court records showed she was being represented by the public defender’s office but no further details were provided.

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