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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Sept. 27, 2023

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2-year-old found gun, shoots father, Florida sheriff says

Mother faces charges; gun was ‘easily accessible’


ORLANDO, Fla. — A 2-year-old boy shot and killed his father with an improperly stored gun at their east Orange County home last month, Sheriff John Mina said Monday, leading to manslaughter and other charges against the child’s mother.

“I can’t emphasize strongly enough that our guns need to be secure and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times,” Mina said at a press conference. “Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their homes.”

Mina said the boy’s 26-year-old father, Reggie Mabry, was found wounded about noon May 26, after deputies went to their home on Tobie Court in response to a 911 call about a shooting.

The man’s wife, 28-year-old Marie Ayala, was performing CPR when rescuers arrived. Mabry was pronounced dead at the hospital and deputies initially thought the shooting was a suicide, the sheriff said.

But then, the couple’s 5-year-old son told detectives that the 2-year-old had fired the fatal shot. A 5-month-old girl was also home at the time, Mina said.

Ayala told investigators that Mabry was playing a video game in their bedroom when “all of a sudden, she heard a loud pop,” an affidavit said.

The 5-year-old boy told Ayala his brother “shot Papi” in the back, but couldn’t say how the little boy got the Glock 19, which detectives found on the bedroom floor with an extended magazine, the report said.

Investigators discovered the couple, both of whom were on probation for child neglect and narcotics charges and had felony convictions making it illegal for them to possess firearms, had left the gun “easily accessible” to their kids, Mina said.

According to the affidavit, Ayala told detectives the gun was “commonly kept” in a zip-up backpack that often was left on the floor, and that the gun could hang out of the bag because of its extended magazine. She also allegedly said the gun was sometimes left under a pillow.

On the day of the shooting, the gun was fully loaded with a 31-round high capacity magazine and a live round in the chamber, Detective Kevin O’Malley wrote in the affidavit.

Ayala has since been jailed without bond on several charges, including manslaughter, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and child neglect, records show.

The children weren’t harmed, Mina said, and are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families. He noted that the kids “have effectively lost both of their parents” as a result of the adults’ negligence.

“Their father is dead, their mother is in jail and a young child has to live their life knowing that he shot his father,” Mina said. “These tragedies are 100 percent preventable.”