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Dad slept with gun 'fully loaded and off safety' — then his 2-year-old shot himself, Utah cops say

Authorities in Salt Lake County have charged Tasman Willilam Maile, 27, with child abuse homicide after his 2-year-old son shot and killed himself with Maile's handgun, which was loaded and off safety.
Authorities in Salt Lake County have charged Tasman Willilam Maile, 27, with child abuse homicide after his 2-year-old son shot and killed himself with Maile's handgun, which was loaded and off safety.

The loaded gun under his pillow was a comfort to him, until the night in May when his neighbor heard a loud thump come from his apartment.

That thump, was the sound of Tasman William Maile's 2-year-old son shooting himself. The neighbor described it in a 911 call, according to KSL.

The toddler was kept on life support for three days so that his organs could be donated, and died on May 29, according to the Deseret News.

Maile was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter just after midnight on May 27, according to jail records. He was formally charged Thursday with child abuse homicide, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

He is also charged with obstructing justice, three counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person and a misdemeanor count of drug possession with intent to distribute.

Court documents obtained by the newspaper allege that Maile's neighbor saw him run out of his apartment that night, wearing a blood-stained shirt, with a blue bucket in one hand and leading his older son with the other to a community trash dumpster. Investigators found a backpack inside that bucket, containing a backpack where police say Maile tried to hide a magazine from the handgun and broken glass jars that held more than 10 ounces of marijuana.

Maile told police that he sleeps every night with the Walther CCP handgun under his pillow, "fully loaded and off safety" and always has it "at arm's length" inside his home, according to KSL.

He also told police he threw two other guns in the dumpster, according to the station.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told the Tribune that the way Maile chose to store the gun indicated criminal negligence that caused the child's death.

“This is a little bit different than somebody who takes their weapon and puts it in a case up in the closet somewhere, hidden behind the clothes, and some child inadvertently finds it and shoots themselves,” he told the newspaper.

The Deseret News reported that in 2016 Maile hit a police car and fled as the officer assisted another vehicle, and that in 2011, he was convicted of interfering with an arresting officer.

Maile's initial court appearance on the new charges is scheduled for Monday.

Most accidental child shootings could be prevented if gun owners properly secured their weapons with a gun lock, Louisville gun safety activist Luther Brown says.

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