2-Year-Old Shoots Himself Accidentally, Father Charged With Child Abuse Homicide

A father in Utah has been charged with child abuse homicide after his two-year-old son fatally shot himself.

Tasman William Maile, 27, of West Valley City, Utah, has been charged with one count of child abuse homicide, one count of obstructing justice, three counts of possessing a firearm by a restricted person, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute following the accidental fatal shooting of his two-year-old son last month, according to Fox 13 Utah.

Tasman-William-Maile-charged-child-abuse-homicide
(Photo: Salt Lake County Jail)

According to charging documents, Maile had fallen asleep with his Walther CCP handgun “either next to him on the floor or under his pillow” and woke just before midnight on Saturday, May 26, to the sound of a gun being fired, only to discover that his two-year-old son had gotten hold of the firearm and accidentally shot himself.

When police arrived at the scene, they discovered the two-year-old boy lying on the floor unconscious with a gunshot wound to the head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died three days later.

A witness told authorities that he had heard a loud noise around the time of the shooting and had seen Maile run outside with his older son, who was also in the house at the time, in one hand and a blue bucket in the other hand. The witness also stated that Maile’s shirt was covered in blood and that he dumped the bucket into a dumpster.

When police searched the dumpster, they discovered the blue bucket, which contained a handgun magazine, two glass jars containing more than 10 ounces of marijuana, and a digital scale. They also recovered a backpack that contained an empty gun case for a Walther CCP, a 9 mm handgun in a case, and a 9 mm handgun in a holster. The handgun used in the accidental shooting was discovered inside the house.

Maile told authorities that he kept the gun “fully loaded and off safety within arm’s reach’ at all times” and admitted to falling asleep with the gun nearby while his children were in the house.

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“This is a little bit different than somebody who takes their weapon and puts it in a case up in the closet somewhere, hidden behind the clothes, and some child inadvertently finds it and shoots themselves,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Gill added that prior to filing a child abuse homicide charge against Maile, several factors were weighed, and that the way in which Maile stored his gun indicated criminal negligence, which ultimately led to the two-year-old’s death.