A dispute between a Canoga Park man and his 10-year-old son over a mess made by a pet puppy escalated into a family argument in which a handgun held by the man went off and his wife and son were injured, Los Angeles police said Monday.
The boy, Randy Nater, was in stable but guarded condition at Humana Hospital West Hills after being shot in the abdomen at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at his home in the 23300 block of Welby Way, police said. The boy’s mother, Lylliam Nater, 33, was treated at the hospital for a graze wound in the neck and was released.
Joel Nater, 32, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after the shooting. He was released on $12,000 bail Monday morning.
Though both parents said the shooting was an accident, the case will be presented to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office for possible filing of charges against Joel Nater, police said.
The shooting occurred during an argument begun when Joel Nater told Randy, one of the couple’s four young sons, to clean up a mess the boys’ puppy had made in a bathroom at the home, police said.
Detective Duane Burris said that Randy refused to do the cleaning and that he was spanked by his father. Lylliam Nater grew angry over the disciplining of the child and began arguing with her husband, police said. She then called relatives on the phone to complain about her husband, police said.
“The next thing you know, he went into a bedroom and got the gun,” Lt. William Gaida said. “He was waving it around and was angry.”
While Joel Nater was in one room with the gun and his wife and son were in another room, the gun discharged and a bullet struck the corner of the room, police said. Fragments of the bullet went through the wall and struck the woman and child in the other room, Burris said. The three other boys, ages 5, 8 and 11, were in the house but were not injured.
“The father is saying it was an accident,” Gaida said. “The mother says it was an accident. It will be reviewed.”
Police said that if Joel Nater is not charged with assault, he could face a lesser charge.