Parents shot by their toddler in Albuquerque charged with child abuse

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By Ann Colwell and Andreas Preuss


(CNN) — The parents of a toddler have been charged with child abuse after their 3-year-old son shot them both, according to a new Mexico criminal complaint.

The shooting happened last Saturday afternoon at a motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The couple was shot apparently after the child grabbed a .45-caliber handgun from his mother’s purse and fired one shot, striking both his father and his pregnant mother.

Both parents were arrested Thursday on a charge of child abuse without great bodily harm, according to a state criminal complaint. The boy and his 2-year-old sister, who also was in the room, were not injured in the incident.

CNN is not identifying the parents to protect the identities of their children.

In the complaint, police say the children, who have not been identified by name, were in the motel room with their parents. The boy jumped up and managed to grab his mother’s handbag from on top of a small refrigerator, about 3 feet high. Inside the purse, he discovered a loaded .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic firearm, which had been purchased earlier that day.

The toddler fired a single shot, striking both adults, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint adds that the bullet hit the father “in the buttock area.” The projectile then exited through his upper thigh, striking and exiting the mother’s upper right arm. The father then reportedly “immediately disarmed” the child and placed the gun back inside his mother’s purse and on top of the refrigerator.

Both parents were treated and released from a local hospital.

“It should be noted that [the father] was with [the mother] on this date when she purchased the firearm and ammunition,” the criminal complaint said. “[The father] knew the firearm was inside [the mother’s] purse.”

The complaint goes on to say the parents “acted with a reckless disregard for the safety and or health” of their children.

“That’s what happens when you don’t secure a firearm, and you’re unsafe around firearms,” Albuquerque police officer Simon Drobik told CNN affiliate KOAT. “Children have easy access to them … and people got hurt.”

According to KQRE, federal charges could be filed in the case because the father “is a convicted felon and not allowed to be around guns.”

Albuquerque police said the mother is eight months pregnant. The boy and his 2-year-old sister were placed into temporary custody with the Children’s, Youth and Families Department.

Both parents were being held Friday at the Bernalillo County Metro Detention Center, according to authorities, with bond set at $15,000 each.

CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

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  • bob

    They got SHOT. No one else was injured. What possible good could come from these criminal charges?

    I’m pretty sure they get it…..and if they don’t, they never will.

    • miles (dave)

      im not sure if thees people really messed up on a super no brainer level, except that he was a felon. im having a hard time agreeing with the child neglect part, which i think is all about the gun. i think i get it guns are a serious subject as a matter of fact i loved the gun safety rules you gave a while back and i agree with them totally (the ones i remember anyway) but i dont think it was unreasonable to have the gun in the purse (if the gun isnt with her it dose no good).

      would you say that a gun should never ever be where a child could get to it. even if the gun and child are being supervised?

      when i think in a ideal but reasonable situation where should a gun be that i own i think ether
      1 on me ie holster or
      2 somewhere no irresponsible person can get to it. (like on a high shelf etc)

      but i think even if the gun was in a holster depending on the holster a child still could have gotten to it (it may have been harder but id think still possible.
      and for a woman a holster may not work well. would you say its never ok to keep a gun in a purse. because id think its not reasonable to ask the woman to keep her purse on her at all times even when home.

      someone did get shot which says they definitely need to improve something and i do feel like they didnt do a 100% good job at gun safety but im having a hard time deciding what exactly they should have done to be both 100% good at gun safety and also be reasonable and practical for real life. so i think your better at gun safety than me so what is the answers please.


      It is illegal for convicted felons to be in possession of firearms. Google “constructive Possession”.

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