A Florida man is facing negligence charges after leaving his loaded AK-47 unattended, resulting in his 6-year-old nephew picking it up and accidentally shooting his grandfather.
According to WSVN, Juan Manuel Martinez Jr., 28, has been charged with culpable negligence of a firearm for not keeping an eye on his loaded AK-47, authorities said.
According to police, Martinez was having a beer with his father, Juan Manuel Martinez Sr., at a family barbeque when talk turned to hunting. Martinez Jr. brought out his AK-47 to share, handing it to his father who then set it on a table.
A nephew of Martinez Jr. picked up the unattended assault rifle and pulled the trigger, shooting his grandfather in the chest and killing him.
“It’s not his fault. He didn’t know what he was doing,” Martinez Jr. said. “He’s just a little boy. I love him. He’s my family. I love all my family.”
Martinez added that he was unaware that his nephew was nearby.
“We heard the gun shot go off. My father was struck in the chest before he was airlifted to the hospital, and they told us that he passed,” he said.”I should’ve never brought the firearm out.”
“In this particular case, investigators informed us, that there was alcohol involved. Not only alcohol. We also had drugs. We had cocaine,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
Martinez admitted to WSVN that he had been doing drugs and drinking before the accident, saying, “I was smoking marijuana. I was doing cocaine, and I had two beers.”
Martinez called the shooting an accident, saying no one was to blame.
“The family is not trying to point the finger at anybody,” he said. “This is a tragic event that occurred. We can’t say it was my fault, it was my nephew’s fault, it was my father’s fault. It’s just a tragic event that occurred. If there was anything I could do to bring him back, God help me I would.”
“If you are a gun owner, you need to know that you are responsible for that gun. You’re responsible on how to handle that gun and of the safety of the people around you,” said Zabaleta.
Martinez Jr. was arrested, booked, and released from jail.
The 6-year-old is in the care of his family and is receiving grief counseling.