A 35-year-old man is under arrest and facing a felony charge after a toddler accidentally shot himself in a Fresno home over the weekend.
Oscar Ramos was booked on a felony charge of criminal storage of a firearm, as well as a charge of possession of a large-capacity magazine, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference Monday.
“This was a death that was completely avoidable,” Dyer said. “We have a 2-year-old boy in our city today who is dead, a father who is grieving and will never be the same, as a result of the negligent act of one individual.”
Police said officers received a call shortly after 12 p.m. on Saturday, from a woman who said a 2-year-old boy had shot himself in the head. When officers arrived at the residence in the 300 block of West Audubon Drive, they found the boy, identified as Jace Alexander, on the bedroom floor in a pool of blood.
The boy was breathing and officers attempted to stop the bleeding, Dyer said. Paramedics then transported the boy to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that afternoon.
At the time of the shooting, the boy’s father was at work and had left his son in the care of his fiance, Dyer said. The fiance and Ramos, who is the couple’s roommate, told police they were in another room when they heard a loud pop from the other side of the house, he said.
They said they found Jace on his bedroom floor and Ramos’ Sig Sauer semiautomatic handgun on the bed. Ramos paced around the house for five to 10 minutes without calling police, before the father’s fiance took Ramos’ phone and called 911, Dyer said. Based on the gunshot wound, he said, the additional time probably would not have been enough to save the boy.
Dyer said Ramos told officers he had last handled his gun Friday evening and was unsure where he placed it last. Although Ramos had a safe in his room to store the gun, the chief said, Jace’s father told police that in the past Ramos had left the gun in locations easily accessible to children. Once, the boy’s father found it in a dresser drawer in his bedroom, Dyer said.
“He gave that gun back to Oscar and said, ‘Do not leave that handgun in locations in this house that can be accessed by my children,’” the chief said.
Dyer said that Ramos “took full responsibility” for the boy’s death.
“Until an incident like this strikes home, people do not see that there’s a potential for this to occur in their own home, with one of their own firearms,” Dyer said. “We have talked far too long about gun safety, securing firearms in a home — and yet we have another death of a child.”