WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The parents of a child who was accidentally shot by a sibling have been arrested.
Nathan and Baronica Mares were arrested on Tuesday October 25, 2022 and charged with Making Firearms Accessible to Child.
According to the arrest affidavit, on July 10, 2021, Wichita Falls Police went to 3917 Cynthia Lane on a report a child had been shot. Officers got to the scene and found the victim and his mother had been taken to the hospital by a neighbor.
While talking to police at the hospital, Baronica Mares said she was cleaning the kitchen when she heard a “pop” and her kids screaming. She said she ran to the bedroom and saw her 8-year-old son covered in blood from a chest wound.
She told police she carried him outside and yelled for help while one of her other children called 9-1-1. She also said she thought her son had shot himself, but wasn’t sure.
During the investigation it was discovered Nathan was not home when the shooting happened.
While at the hospital, police noticed the victim had a chest wound. Medical staff said the bullet missed the victim’s heart but pierced one of his lungs. He was transported to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.
Nathan arrived at the hospital and told police he wanted to talk to a lawyer before he talked to law enforcement. He also said he owned a Glock handgun. Officers overheard Nathan and Baronica tell the children they know better than to play in their (the parents’) room without an adult.
During an interview with the children at Patsy’s House, investigators discovered a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old were in the living room while Baronica was in the kitchen. The 9-year-old said he and the victim went into their parents’ room and found a gun in the dresser. He said they were playing with the gun when he accidentally pulled the trigger.
A search warrant found a chrome revolver on a nightstand dresser, two rifles leaning against the wall, and two semi-automatic handguns, one of which believed to be the firearm that was discharged. The weapons were seized and a bullet slug and shell casings were recovered from the scene.
Evidence collected at the scene and sent for testing showed the Glock was the firearm that had discharged.
According to the medical report, the bullet struck the victim in the upper left chest and exited his right shoulder.
The report noted the victim survived and is expected to make a full recovery.
Warrants were issued and both parents were arrested on Class A Misdemeanor charges. They were freed from jail on bond later Tuesday.
Wichita Falls Police spokesman, Sgt. Charlie Eipper said, “If you have a firearm, you’re not only responsible for how you handle that firearm, but you’re also responsible for making sure that it’s kept away from a child who could hurt themselves or someone else with it.”
He said gun safes are great, slide locks are great too. He added, “We actually give away trigger (slide) locks for free.” Call (940) 720-5059 to get a hold of WFPD or stop by the training center to get a free slide lock