Grandfather charged after boy shoots 2-year-old in face

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Gerardo Garcia-Segura By Catherine Holland Gerardo Garcia-Segura By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – A toddler is in critical condition after reportedly being shot in the face by an 8-year-old. Her grandfather has been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

Police say they responded to a home near 40th Street and McDowell Road on Tuesday at about 3:30 p.m. after reports that a 2-year-old girl had been shot.

Police said the toddler's mother was cleaning her parents' apartment at the Fountain Oaks complex at the time. Her young daughter was there when two other children, ages 6 and 8, got home from school and went into the bedroom. Those boys are the girl's uncles. She followed them into the room.

The mother ran into the bedroom after she heard a gunshot and discovered her little daughter had been shot in the face. Neither grandparent was home when it happened.

Police say the 8-year-old hid the .22-caliber handgun under a television following the shooting because he got scared.

“If you’re a parent and you have a gun in your home or you have multiple guns in your home, if you have a rifle in your home or if you have weapons of any kind and they are not secure, you don’t have a gun lock on them, they’re not in a safe box and you have children in your home you’re just asking for trouble, you’re just asking to have one of these scenarios play out in your own home,” Deputy Chief Phoenix Fire Frank Salomon said.

The child was struck in the sinus region but is expected to survive her injuries.

Police served a search warrant at the apartment to look for evidence. Officers found a .22 revolver, a .22-caliber long rifle, and several pellet and BB guns.

Detectives questioned both little boys about the shooting. According to court paperwork, the kids told investigators they did not know the gun was loaded when they started playing with it. The older boy said the handgun had been give to his father -- the victim's grandfather -- by a friend.

The mother reportedly told police she saw the gun on the floor while cleaning but thought it was a toy because the kids often have several toy guns.

“Because of the age of culpability under Arizona law, the 8-year-old could face charges. So could the grandparents depending on how they stored the gun, whether it was locked up or not," Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department explained. "What we really want to know: the location of the gun…where did he get it, how was the gun kept."

According to Crump, the victim's grandfather was taken into custody when he arrived home Tuesday night. Gerardo Garcia-Segura, 38, has been charged with child abuse and weapons violations.

A judge set bond for Garcia-Segura at $50,000 and added several restrictions. Garcia-Segura, a Mexican national who was already out on bond for entering the U.S. illegally in January, is not allowed to return to the scene of the shooting, he cannot have any contact with his granddaughter, and he cannot possess a weapon.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 23.