Entertainment And News

Mom Charged After 2-Year-Old Son Fatally Shoots Husband

Photo: Orange County Sherriff's Department
Reggie Mabry, Marie Ayala

A Florida woman was charged with manslaughter on Monday, June 6 after her 2-year-old son accidentally shot and killed her husband.

Marie Ayala, a 28-year-old Orlando woman, told police last month that her son shot his father, 26-year-old Reggie Mabry, in the back while he was playing video games.

Mabry passed away from his injuries after being taken to the hospital. She said that her son found the Glock 19, in an open bag on the floor. 

The mother is now being held responsible for her son killing his father.

Ayala faces 15 years in prison if found guilty of manslaughter.

In addition to manslaughter, Ayala is also facing charges of culpable negligence and possession of a firearm by a felon.

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Ayala told authorities that she and Mabry were both on probation for child neglect and narcotics charges.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said in a news conference on Monday that Mabry’s death could have been prevented if the gun was kept in a more secure spot.

"The gun was not properly stored, and in fact, it was easily accessible even to a two-year-old, and the result is a tragedy in this community that no one can comprehend,” Mina said.

The sheriff’s department released a statement Monday evening on Facebook that advised readers to safely store any weapons they own away from children.

The department also said in the statement that Ayala and Mabry’s 5-year-old son told authorities that his brother was the one who pulled the trigger. Their third and youngest child, five months old, was also in the home at the time of the shooting, according to the statement.

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“The children were not injured physically, but they will likely carry emotional wounds forever,” the department said.

“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.

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

Accidental shootings by children have resulted in many deaths.

According to data from Everytown for Gun Safety, 46 people in the U.S. have died from unintentional shootings by children in 2022. 163 people died from such shootings in 2021, and 141 in 2020.

Gun control activists, such as Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, believe that these shootings are another consequence of the easy access to firearms in the U.S.

“This is a uniquely American crisis where children are able to easily access unsecured loaded firearms and hurt themselves or others,” Watts told the New York Times.

Recent mass shootings, including those in Uvalde and Buffalo, have increased the push for gun control legislation. One bill before the House of Representatives would introduce punishments for families who fail to secure firearms in households where children are “likely to gain access” to them. 

However, some, such as Northeastern University criminology professor James Alan Fox, have reservations about how substantially such a bill could reduce the number of avoidable deaths.

“If a child gets hold of a gun, they’re going to kill themselves or you or another family member,” Fox told the New York Times. “And if that isn’t deterrent enough, then whatever the prosecutor does is not going to make a difference.”

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Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with his content.