A Tongan father in West Valley, Utah, United States has been charged with manslaughter after his two-year-old son in hospital after receiving a serious gunshot wound on Saturday.
The toddler was in critical condition after shooting himself in the head with a gun his father left accessible to him. West Valley City police said the boy is not expected to survive.
The boy’s father, 27-year-old Tasman Maile, has been arrested and is in Salt Lake County Jail, Utah news media reports.
He has been charged for leaving the weapon accessible to the child, as well as obstruction of justice, drug possession and possession of a weapon by a restricted person; Maile has a criminal history for previous events and is not allowed to own a firearm.
Just before midnight Saturday, West Valley City police received calls of shots fired in the area of 2700 South Fair Isle Lane in West Valley City.
The caller, 27-year-old Tasman William Alexander Maile, said that his 2-year-old son had shot himself with a handgun.
Officers arrived at the home and found Maile and his two young sons (ages 2 and 7). Police said the 2-year-old was bleeding.
WVCPD administered CPR and first aid until medical personnel could arrive and transport the child to Jordan Valley Hospital, before being airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital.
“From the extent of the injuries on the child, the doctor said the child’s not going to survive,” said Lt. Jeff Conger with West Valley City PD.
WVCPD said the child is at the hospital on life support for organ distribution purposes.
Police recovered the handgun from the home and brought Maile in for questioning, and police said he was “not completely cooperative.”
“He did tell us some basic information, that the child got the gun and shot himself with it. But didn’t really elaborate on why the weapon was out and how the child got the weapon.,” Lt. Conger said.
According to a probable cause statement, after being read his Miranda Rights, Maile told police he fell asleep on the floor with his sons while ‘cuddled up together,’ he also admitted to keeping a handgun fully loaded and within arm’s reach with the safety off.
He then told investigators his son had gotten a hold of the handgun, ultimately shooting himself in the upper portion of his head.
Court documents state that Maile had two additional guns (three in the house in-total) which he admitted to throwing away in a community dumpster alongside a ‘distributable amount of marijuana’ as to not get into trouble.
Maile’s bail has been set at $50,000.