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MCSO recommends filing charges against parents of Mesa boy who shot himself

MESA, AZ — The Maricopa County Sheriff tells ABC15 they are recommending charges for endangering the parents of a three-year-old boy who found a gun and shot himself in the face in May.

The incident happened in East Mesa, in a mobile home and trailer park near Crismon and Main. ABC15 has learned that the boy fortunately survived his injuries.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Russ Skinner. “At this point, the child has survived and is receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation.”

The investigation into how the boy got the gun began nearly two months ago. On Tuesday, Sheriff Skinner sat down exclusively with ABC15 to provide an update.

“The fact that there was a gun lying on a couch cushion while the father was sleeping,” Sheriff Skinner said. “The child had access to that gun and shot himself.”

ABC15 was told that multiple children lived in the home. MCSO also said in May that both parents were present and cooperating with the investigation.

“I think it belonged to the residents, they knew that,” Sheriff Skinner said. “Unfortunately, this was not the first time the gun had been stored there on multiple occasions. This was not anything out of the ordinary.”

Sheriff Skinner said the home had a gun safe. “Had it been in the safe or had it been properly stored, this tragedy would not have happened.”

Sheriff Skinner told ABC15 the parents could face criminal charges. MCSO said they are recommending charges for endangerment to the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office.

Sheriff Skinner said the situation was difficult for first responders and the family, but he also said the situation could have been avoided.

“This really highlights the need for gun owners to properly store their guns and make sure they provide security and training to ensure these tragedies don’t happen,” said Sheriff Skinner.

ABC15 has not released the names of the parents at this time as they have not been officially charged. The next step is for the MCAO to review the case and make a decision on charging.

ABC15 reached out to County Attorney Rachel Mitchell’s office on Tuesday, but they did not elaborate on where they are in the review process.