A Florida man whose two-year-old son fatally shot his mother during a video call has been arrested for failing to keep the gun out of the child’s reach.
Veondre Avery, 22, appeared in court on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested on charges of manslaughter and failure to secure a weapon. His next court date is set for 23 November.
On 11 August, 21-year-old Shamaya Lynn was on a Zoom work call at her residence in Altamonte Springs, when her co-worker on the other side of the call heard a loud gunshot and saw Lynn’s two-year-old son standing in the background. Lynn immediately fell off her seat and did not respond to her co-worker’s attempts to reach her. The co-worker then decided to contact 911.
“One of the girls passed out, she was bleeding. She has the camera on. Her baby is crying in the back,” the co-worker said in the emergency call, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Lynn was shot in the head by the toddler, who was alone at home with his mother that day. After examining the forensic evidence, the police said it was “clearly established” that the son discovered the gun and shot his mother on his own, without external help.
Mr Avery, after returning home, also contacted emergency services, begging them to “please hurry”. The police said that when they arrived, Mr Avery was making desperate attempts to revive his girlfriend. However, Lynn was pronounced dead shortly after that.
Since the gun belonged to Mr Avery and he had left it unsecured, loaded and without the safety on, he has been charged for neglect and manslaughter, police say.
Cases of accidental shootings by children rose in the US during the pandemic, recent studies suggest. According to research by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, 128 deaths were reported from unintentional shootings by children between March and December 2020, a 31 per cent increase from the same period in 2019.