Toddler Fatally Shoots Himself with Dad's Gun as the Man Slept Nearby: Police

Puniani Maile shot himself May 29, and was taken off of life support three days later

Photo: Facebook

A Utah man faces multiple charges after his toddler son accidentally killed himself with the gun Maile allegedly told police he always kept within arm’s reach.

Tasman Maile, 27, is charged with child abuse homicide, obstructing justice, drug possession with the intent to sell and three counts of illegal weapons possession by a felon, according to an arrest warrant obtained by PEOPLE.

Police were called to his West Valley City home on May 29, after receiving reports from neighbors who heard a gun go off.

Officers arrived to find Maile covered in blood and his son, Puniani, unconscious on the floor, bleeding from his head, according to the warrant. They also found a handgun Maile allegedly later admitted was his.

“Maile stated that he was asleep on the floor with his Walther CCP either next to him on the floor or under his pillow,” the warrant alleges. “Maile stated that he kept his gun ‘fully loaded and off safety within arm’s reach’ at all times.”

Maile allegedly told investigators his two sons fell asleep next to him on the floor. He awoke when the gun fired, the warrant states.

The child was placed on life support for three days so that family members could come and say their goodbyes.

It was the scandal that rocked America’s most storied political family and changed the course of presidential history. PEOPLE‘s first-ever podcast, Cover-Up, dives into the Chappaquiddick scandal and attempts to piece together what happened in the hours after Ted Kennedy’s car went over a narrow wooden bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever podcasts are available.

The warrant alleges officers recovered more than 10 ounces of marijuana and two guns in a nearby community dumpster along with a digital scale. A neighbor told police she’d seen Maile allegedly walk over to the dumpster soon after she heard the single gunshot, the warrant states.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told the Salt Lake Tribune the homicide charge stems from Maile’s alleged negligence.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

“This is a little bit different than somebody who takes their weapon and puts it in a case up in the closet somewhere, hidden behind the clothes, and some child inadvertently finds it and shoots themselves,” he told the paper.

The boy’s grandmother, Tule Iloa, told KUTV Maile said goodbye to his son via speakerphone from jail.

Tasman MaileCredit: Salt Lake County Jail
Salt Lake County Jail

We know that he loved Puniani so much,” she said.

PEOPLE was unable to reach Maile for comment; he has since been released on bond.

It was unclear if he has an attorney. He has not entered pleas to the charges.

Related Articles