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Mother and Boyfriend Charged in Case of Toddler Shooting Death
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A woman has been charged with manslaughter after leaving her three-year-old son unrestrained in a car after she put a pistol underneath the driver’s seat. The boy shot himself in the head when the woman went to get food. The boyfriend of the woman, who is the owner of the gun, has also been charged in the case.

“Nothing is sadder than the death of a child, and when the death is the result of criminal negligence, there needs to be accountability,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. “Guns are inherently dangerous, and the law, as well as common sense, requires that guns be handled responsibly, especially around children.”

  
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The mother of the child is Jahnisha McIntosh, who is 23, and her boyfriend is Eric Vita, who is 22. Both made appearances in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. The death occurred on March 14 to Julio Segura-McIntosh. His dead was the third child-involved shooting in Western Washington in three weeks.

The couple decided to stop for gas in Tacoma when Vita removed the gun from his waistband so he did not worry the clerk at the gas station and put it underneath the passenger seat in the vehicle, according to the prosecutor. Vita has a concealed weapons permit. The prosecutor said that Julio unbuckled himself and moved into the passenger seat and asked his mother for candy. McIntosh moved the gun to underneath the driver’s seat so Julio could not reach it. She then went into the gas station and left Julio unsupervised in the vehicle. The gun was found by Julio, who shot himself in the head in front of McIntosh’s 8-month-old daughter, who was not injured in the shooting.

The attorney for Vita, David Gehrke, said that the shooting was a tragedy and everyone involved in it is shocked. He also said that Vita acted responsibly.

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“I think he was being very careful. He did not just leave the gun there, without another adult present. And I think if the mother had stayed in there, this probably would not have happened,” Gehrke said.

“My understanding is that the child went from the back seat to the front seat, got the gun, the mom took it away and said, `No, leave that alone,’ and then put it under her seat. And then inexplicably she got out and went into the convenience store to buy something,” he said.



Gehrke also said that the mother is not being blamed.

“She lost her child, and that should be punishment for any parent in a circumstance like this,” he said.



 

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