Monica Abeyta, thirty, was arrested on Saturday, June 3, in Colorado Springs after her three-year-old son shot his two-year-old brother. At last report, the injured child was in stable condition following the latest incident of children from Colorado being hurt or killed after finding an unsecured gun. Here are five additional examples as seen in excerpts from our previous coverage, as well as additional details about the Abeyta matter.
Ethan Hearty, Denver toddler, dies after finding gun in grandparents' Utah home
THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2012, AT 7:57 A.M.
At this writing, Denver's Tiffany Hearty is keeping most of the information she's posted on her Facebook page private.
But she made an exception when it came to expressing her appreciation for the condolences she's received in the wake of a horrific tragedy — the accidental shooting death of her son, Ethan, during a visit to his grandparents' home in Utah.
"We are so grateful and humbled by the outpouring of love and support from so many wonderful friends and family and we love you," she writes in a statement that's also credited to her husband, Matt.
...Police in Sandy, Utah, received a call just past 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening on a report that Ethan had found a 9 mm handgun in the master bedroom of his grandparents' home, where he was visiting at the time, and accidentally shot himself.
He is said to have been alone at the time. The boy was flown to an area hospital by helicopter, but he was pronounced dead just after 8 p.m.
Thus far, no charges have been filed in the case, though local authorities imply that a resolution of some sort will be reached later today.
Some of the photos on the Hearty family's Facebook page feature Ethan's parents with guns. However, all the page's images are now off-limits.
Dione Warren, proud gun owner, busted after toddler son shoots and kills himself
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013, AT 8:50 A.M.
...At about 9:45 a.m. on October 28, Frederick police were called to a home on the 500 block of Pine Street.
The woman who dialed 911 — later identified as Dione Warren — didn't mention a shooting. Rather, she reportedly said her child had suffered from an apparent fall and was losing a lot of blood. She added that he wasn't breathing.
Left out of this account was the fact that the boy's body was found in a bedroom near a handgun that had been recently fired. A bullet was found in the bed, after presumably ricocheting off a wall.
Emergency personnel rushed the boy to a nearby hospital, but he was pronounced dead just over an hour later.
An arrest affidavit sheds additional light on what took place. According to the document, Warren and her husband, Jeremy McCollum, owned a gun safe, but they'd started keeping a handgun under their mattress after hearing shots in the neighborhood. McCollum is said to have routinely returned the weapon to the safe each morning, but she must have forgotten to do so on the 28th, and speculated that Sheine must have seen it there.
Warren is quoted as telling investigators that she and her husband were Second Amendment supporters who viewed gun ownership as "part of our heritage as Americans." She added that they didn't hide these views from their kids — Sheine, Warren's son from a previous relationship, and a school-age daughter.
On the fateful morning, Warren allegedly left Sheine on the bed while she took the girl to school — an account offered by the family babysitter, with whom she is said to have been speaking during the brief trip.
Upon her return to the home, she discovered Sheine gravely injured in the bedroom and called for help, but the boy was beyond saving.
Adrian Chavez, Accused Toddler-Shooting Gun Owner, Was in SWAT Team Standoff With Mom
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2014, AT 7:32 A.M.
...Unfortunately, children seriously hurt or worse after getting their hands on unattended guns isn't unprecedented. But a terrible incident in Pueblo has a number of twists. For one thing, fortunately, the injured child is still alive at last report, albeit in critical condition. For another, two kids handled the weapon before a shot was fired, with the one who manipulated it into firing position telling investigators he knew how to do it from playing video games.
The incident took place on the 3200 block of Colfax in Pueblo.
At around 10:15 a.m. on August 5, officers were dispatched after receiving a call about a three-year-old female who'd been shot. She was responsive upon their arrival, having been hit by a single bullet that entered and exited her body without breaking any bones. However, the situation was serious enough that after being transported to a local hospital, she was choppered via Flight for Life to a facility in Colorado Springs.
The girl subsequently underwent surgery, and at last report, she was in critical but stable condition.
As for what led to the shooting, investigators believe a nine-year-old child gained access to a gun that was inside the house and brought it to the back yard. There, he is said to have manipulated the gun so that it was ready for firing before handing it off to another kid, age five. That child then pointed it at the three-year-old girl and pulled the trigger.
When the nine-year-old was asked by law enforcers how he was able to manipulate the handgun, the release says "he learned it from video games like Black Ops," a popular entry in the Call of Duty franchise.
Neither the injured child nor her mom have been identified at this writing. But the mother was home at the time of the shooting in the company of Adrian Chavez, her 22-year-old boyfriend. Chavez fled the scene, presumably because he had a no-bond warrant for failure to appear written out in his name. But he didn't get far: He was taken into custody around 3:15 p.m.
Continue for more stories about the accidental shootings of Colorado children, including more details about Monica Abeyta's arrest.
9-Year-Old Accidentally Shot With James Howard's Gun Dies, No Charges Yet
TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016, AT 6:41 A.M.
...At 12:01 p.m. on Monday, January 4, an emergency call was made in relation to an injury near a Sparq Natural Gas facility, located at a Shell gas station at 806 East Goddard Avenue in Trinidad.
Cops and personnel from the Trinidad Fire Department raced to the scene, where they discovered a nine-year-old boy who'd sustained a gunshot to the head.
The boy was rushed to Mt. San Rafael hospital in Pueblo. He was subsequently transported via Flight for Life to Children's Hospital in Denver, where he underwent surgery. Afterward, his condition was listed as critical.
What happened? The nine-year-old and his eight-year-old brother were in the care of Howard, 63, while their parents attended to a medical appointment — and Howard, a Sparq employee, took the boys with him to the station, where he was working on a pump.
While waiting in his car for Howard to finish, the boys discovered a loaded gun inside the vehicle. As they handled the weapon, it fired, with the bullet striking the older of the brothers in the head.
The boy never responded to treatment, and on Sunday, January 10, a decision was made to disconnect him from life-support devices. He died at 12:54 p.m. that day.
Jalecc Taylor's Probation in Little Brother's Death Actually a Life Sentence, DA Says
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2017, AT 7:06 A.M.
Teen Jalecc Taylor has been sentenced to two years of intensive supervised probation under the juvenile system for negligent child abuse resulting in the death of Anthony Hemmings, his ten-year-old brother, last year.
Anthony was fatally shot at his Aurora home, located in the 1500 block of Galena Street, on June 4, 2016. The incident took place after he and Jalecc "began handling a loaded handgun," notes the 17th Judicial District DA's Office, which prosecuted the case and decided to try Jalecc as a juvenile even though he was less than a month away from his eighteenth birthday when the shooting occurred. See our previous coverage below.
Jalecc will be required to attend school or work full-time during his probationary sentence.
In a statement, 17th Judicial Distrct DA Dave Young said, "This is the right outcome for this case. This was an accidental shooting, and as a result, Jalecc Taylor's little brother lost his life. This tragedy is the result of a juvenile in possession of a handgun. The purpose of a juvenile sentence is to rehabilitate the juvenile so that he will never enter the criminal justice system again. Mr. Taylor received a life sentence today, because every day for the rest of his life, he will be thinking about his brother."
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At approximately 1:42 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department, officers responded to a house on the 4300 block of Driftwood Drive on a report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, they found a two-year-old male child with an apparent gunshot wound. The shooter appears to have been his three-year-old brother.
The following morning, the CSPD revealed the arrest of Abeyta, who lived at the home with her three kids (the two boys and a sister), as well as a roommate.
The family was reportedly in the midst of moving, and police speculate that the gun was left unsecured as a result.
Abeyta was taken into custody on suspicion of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, but the investigation remains active. Anyone with additional information about the case is encouraged to contact the CSPD at 719-444-7000 or the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 719-634-STOP (7867) or 1-800-222-8477.