A mother and father in Colorado are facing stiff charges after their son was involved in a horrific gun accident. Carlos and Ashlynne Perez of Colorado Springs had been visiting a local marijuana dispensary when their 4-year-old son discovered their loaded gun in the car. Shockingly, authorities say it wasn’t the first time.
Ashlynne and her two children waited in their car as Carlos shopped inside the dispensary around 12 pm on Tuesday, July 6. Prior to the visit, the father had loaded and stashed a firearm in the car’s glove compartment, according to KKTV.
The mother told investigators that as they waited, her 4-year-old son climbed from his booster seat and into the front seat of the car.
“Ms. Perez advised [her son] had done this in the past,” an arrest affidavit for Ashlynne read. “Ms. Perez told [her son] to re-buckle, but he refused to listen and climbed into the driver’s side of the vehicle. Then as she turned her head to look out the window towards the gas station (opposite of the location), she heard a loud boom.”
Ashlynne turned back to find her son unresponsive. According to the affidavit, she checked the boy for wounds, finding one in his mouth. She began screaming — which Carlos later told investigators he heard from inside the dispensary.
Several bystanders called 911, and first responders arrived and performed life-saving measures on the boy, court documents said. They rushed the boy to a nearby children’s hospital, where he died from his injury.
A History Of Negligence?
Following the incident, both parents reportedly told investigators their son had been familiar with the gun that killed him. Arrest documents said they had caught the boy playing with it on two previous occasions. Furthermore, the father said he had shown his son the gun, unloaded, the day before the accident.
“Due to those incidents occurring in the past, both parents should have been aware of the danger of this occurring and the probability that [the child] would pick up a firearm within his vicinity,” an arrest affidavit for Carlos read.
Both parents now face charges of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death, reported KOAA.
“This is a tragic investigation that not only affects the family of the victim, but it affects our community and our first responders,” read a statement from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. “We want to remind the community to be sure to talk to your children about guns, even if you do not own guns. If you own guns, gun safety must be taught to all those that are near the gun. The gun must be stored unloaded and locked up. All keys to the locks should be hidden. Our deepest condolences go to the family affected by this tragedy.”