A father and mother in Albuquerque may face felony child-neglect charges after their 3-year-old boy found a gun in his mom's purse and shot his parents in a squalid hotel room, a police spokesman said Sunday.
The pair were wounded by the same bullet in the apparently accidental shooting at the Americas Best Value Inn in Albuquerque on Saturday afternoon, police spokesman Simon Drobik told the Los Angeles Times. The mother is eight months pregnant, Drobik said, and the couple also have a 2-year-old girl.
Police did not release the parents' names and ages, but KOB-TV identified them as Justin Reynolds and his girlfriend, Monique Villescas. The father was treated and released Saturday night, but the mother remained hospitalized Sunday because of the late stage of her pregnancy, Drobik said.
The family had been living in a "completely trashed" hotel room and had been there for a week with the boy, the girl and two pit bulls, said Drobik, who was the first officer to arrive on the scene.
"It appears the child reached into the mother's purse to get an iPad or iPod out" and instead found the gun, Drobik said. The child then fired a single shot that went through his father's buttocks and hit his mother in the arm, Drobik said.
"It was like if I was to get up, shake your hand and sat back down. That's how fast it happened," the father told KOB-TV after the shooting. "All of a sudden we heard a gun go off and the next minute I realized my girlfriend was bleeding. Then I sat down and realized I was shot too."
Drobik applied a tourniquet to the mother's arm, which was bleeding "badly -- there was a lot of blood," the officer told The Times.
After the parents were hospitalized, child protection officials took the children into protective custody and animal control took the pit bulls as officials began to investigate the family's circumstances.
Drobik said the father had a criminal record with a felony conviction, but he didn't know for what. Officials were in the process of revoking the father's parole because he was not supposed to be around guns, Drobik said.
The mother said she had just bought the gun earlier in the day, which officials are investigating, Drobik said.
The parents could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case has been forwarded to the district attorney's office for possible charges on suspicion of felony child negligence, Drobik said.