When Orange County Sheriff’s deputies first arrived on scene, they found Marie Rose Ayala, 28, performing CPR on 26-year-old Reggie Mabry after what they believed to be an attempted suicide.
“It was initially thought based on the evidence that this could be a suicide, but we investigate all deaths,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a press conference Monday. “Detectives learned at the hospital that Reggie Mabry was actually shot in the back, and at the scene, a five-year-old told the authorities it was his two-year-old brother who shot their father.”
According to an affidavit, Ayala told authorities Mabry was playing a video game when she heard a bang from the room, CNN reported. Mabry was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Ayala also admitted that the couple stored a Glock handgun that was usually kept three feet above the ground in a backpack.
Mina said Ayala and Mabry illegally possessed the gun as both were convicted felons and on probation for child neglect and narcotics charges. Detectives determined the illegal weapon was kept in the same room the couple shared with their three children under age six.
“The gun was not properly stored,” Mina said. “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 really comprehend.”
The sheriff also reminded people of the importance of properly storing firearms to prevent tragedies like the one that claimed the life of Mabry and landed Ayala in jail.
“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. “Now these young children have effectively lost both of their parents. Their father is dead. Their mother is in jail. And a young child has to live their life knowing that he shot his father. These tragedies are 100% preventable.”
Ayala was charged with manslaughter by culpable negligence, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and violating probation.
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