Florida Mom Charged with Manslaughter After 2-Year-Old Son Finds Gun and Fatally Shoots His Dad

Marie Ayala, 26, was charged with one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence at the Orange County Sheriff's Department on Monday

Marie Ayala
Marie Ayala. Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Office

A Florida mom is facing a manslaughter charge after her 2-year-old son allegedly shot and killed his father, authorities said Monday.

Marie Ayala, 26, was charged with one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence at the Orange County Sheriff's Department, after failing to properly secure a Glock handgun at her home in Orlando on May 26.

According to an arrest affidavit seen by NBC News, the toddler accidentally killed his father, Reggie Mabry, 26, with the gun while playing a video game.

An online statement posted by the Sheriff's office noted that the boy's 5-year-old elder brother also admitted that his sibling had accidentally fired the fatal shot.

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Orange County Sheriff John Mina
Orange County Sheriff John Mina. Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty

"Tragedies like this are almost incomprehensible, and they are 100 percent preventable," the Sheriff's department added in its statement. "The children were not injured physically, but they will likely carry emotional wounds forever."

"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, the statement continued. "If you own a gun, always be responsible. Take the extra steps to secure it properly and keep you and your family safe."

Under Florida law, a loaded firearm in the home must be kept in a locked box/container or secured with a trigger lock if a child under 16 can access it.

In this tragic case, both Mabry and Ayala should not have had access to a firearm on the grounds that they are convicted felons.

Both were also on probation for child neglect and narcotics possession at the time of the incident, Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters at a news conference, Monday.

"The gun was not properly stored," added Sheriff Mina, "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."

According to NBC News, Ayala told deputies that the gun went off while the couple and their three children - including an infant - were relaxing in the bedroom of their Orlando home.

To begin with, detectives believed they were dealing with a death by suicide, but Ayala told them her son had fired the weapon, reported The New York Times.

She added that she heard a "loud pop" and found her husband on the floor, then began CPR, the Times reported. Mabry later died of his wounds in hospital.

"She advised it was not safe. She acknowledged that any child in the room could have figured out how to get the gun out of the bag," the affidavit quotes a member of the sheriff's department saying, reported NBC.

Ayala appeared in court Saturday charged with one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence and another of illegal possession of a firearm, the outlet reported.

She is currently being held in lieu of $10,000 bond, jail records show. Ayala is being represented by the public defender's office.

Thankfully, none of her children were physically harmed in the incident. The Tampa Bay Times reported that they have now been placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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