Mom arrested after boy, 3, shoots gun in school parking lot

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:

DELTONA, Fla. (AP) A woman who left her child unattended in a vehicle in the parking lot of a church’s school has been charged with felony child neglect after the 3-year-old boy found her loaded handgun and pulled the trigger, sheriff’s deputies said.

The boy wasn’t injured after the shooting Monday afternoon, but Volusia County Sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson said the bullet from the .380-caliber Glock pistol shattered a window in the vehicle and lodged in the door frame.

Davidson said the boy’s mother, Abbie Maldonado, 30, didn’t even realize the gun had been fired as she was walking with other parents in the parking lot while they waited for student dismissal at Good Shepherd Academy in Deltona. She later told investigators that she heard a bang, but didn’t think it sounded like a gunshot. She checked on the boy and walked around the parking lot some more.

An arrest report said that a short time later she took the boy inside the school to use the bathroom. When they returned to the vehicle, she heard glass crackling and noticed the window was shattered.

The woman told investigators she went to the front of the church to see if anyone had seen anyone near her vehicle, still unaware of what had happened, the report said.

Eventually, she saw the gun lying on the front seat, next to the holster, Davidson said. The woman checked the boy for injuries and then reported the incident to the school.

Someone called 911, telling the dispatcher: “Nobody’s hurt, but we had a parent that has a concealed weapon permit and the child got a hold of it and pulled the trigger.”

In a written statement to the sheriff’s office, school Principal Jared Rathje said the school discourages parents from leaving children unattended in vehicles and added that any “suspected violation of Florida gun statutes on school property will be immediately reported” to authorities.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal ( ) reports Maldonado told deputies she’d just gotten her concealed weapons permit in February.

Maldonado told deputies she usually keeps the gun locked in the trunk. Records show no prior arrests for her.

The report says Maldonado’s boyfriend picked up the children and that the Department of Children and Families was notified.

Maldonado was released from jail after posting a $2,500 bond. Records don’t list an attorney for her. A phone number for her was not available.

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