Police Advises Securing Weapons after Series of Accidental Shootings
BROWNSVILLE – A Cameron County teen remains hospitalized after being accidentally shot in the chest.
The incident happened Friday at a home on Indiana Road near Brownsville.
Cameron County Sheriff investigators said 18-year-old Jose Gonzalez accidentally shot Adrian Bautista in the chest. Gonzalez has since been charged with tampering with evidence.
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said this is the third accidental shooting in the past nine months.
“A gun is something that – for whatever reason – it attracts the attention of a person, regardless who it is. It’s just one of those things and people are very curious about it,” he said.
Lucio said three teens have been shot with a .40 caliber handgun in Cameron County so far. Two of the teens died and one remains hospitalized.
Authorities deemed the shootings accidental discharges since the guns weren’t secured.
Gun shop owner Brian Guerra said gun owners can better secure their weapons.
“Federal law states that you have to sell the gun with some sort of locking mechanism on it,” he said.
Guerra said some guns have a built-in lock on them. He said the problem, however, is that some gun owners don’t use it.
“They are very difficult to get off in an emergency situation, that’s the main reason why people don’t use them,” he said.
Guerra said the locks require taking the gun apart, inserting the lock through the chamber and locking it with a set of small keys. He said locking the gun this way prevents people from even putting bullets in it.
But there are other options like lock boxes that open with a code.
“Anyone with small children, we know for a fact that the gun is locked and there is no way that anyone, that anybody is getting it. But if there’s an emergency we have easy access to it,” he said.
Guerra said the boxes can be found as low as $49. He added gun owners need to be proactive in keeping their guns safe and away from those with no gun training.
A Texas law, Texas Penal Code 46.53, holds adults to be held responsible if their weapon causes injury to a child.
It allows for state prosecutors to seek charges against a gun owner if an unsecured gun is accessed by a child and causes harm or death.
Law enforcement officials said they must wait seven days to arrest a parent if their weapon caused a child’s death.
Although the teen shootings were ruled accidental, the people handling the gun in all three cases were charged.
Jonathan Gamez was convicted of manslaughter in January and sentenced to 10 years in jail for the death of 17-year-old Devin Leal.
Last month, Ramon Saldivar Jr. was also sentenced to five years in jail for the death of 17-year-old Francisco Cortina.
In the most recent case, 18-year-old Jose Gonzalez was only charged with tampering with evidence.
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