Abbie Maldonado leaves her loaded gun in her vehicle with her toddler, and he shoots.
Gun safety is so important to teach children. Kids are innocent and just don’t know the dangers of handling a weapon. Keeping loaded guns in plain sight when children are nearby is downright neglectful, as 30-year-old Abbie Maldonado learned. The woman received a valid concealed-carry weapon permit from the state just last month and was arrested Monday afternoon after her 3-year-old son grabbed a loaded gun she kept next to her in their vehicle and shot out the window of the car, which was parked at a church school. Maldonado had her toddler with her as she headed to Good Shepherd Academy on Howland Boulevard to pick up an older son shortly before 3:45 p.m. “Maldonado got out to walk around and left the boy unsecured in the back of the vehicle with the rear passenger door propped open so she could keep an eye on the child,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Gary Davidson said.
When interviewed by investigators, Maldonado said she was walking in the parking lot with some other parents when she heard a loud bang. She said she didn’t realize it was gunfire right away and didn’t put two and two together, considering the weapon she left in the car. But, she figured she should make sure everything was okay. Returning to the vehicle, she noticed damaged glass on the front driver’s side window. Maldonado said she thought someone had tried to break into the car.
Deputies stated Maldonado then walked toward the front of the church to see if anyone had seen someone suspicious by her vehicle. Returning a second time, the woman opened the door and noticed her loaded gun wasn’t in the driver’s side door pocket where she had left it. “It was on the front seat,” Davidson said. “Maldonado told deputies that she normally keeps the gun locked in the trunk.” Only then did she realize what had happened.
Maldonado was not allowed to take her children home with her. The woman’s boyfriend picked them up instead, and she was arrested and charged with child neglect. The Department of Children and Families is currently investigating. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident. Things could have been much worse for the woman and her family. Maldonado was released from jail shortly after she posted bail.
Good Shepherd Academy released a statement Tuesday that read in part: “We are thankful to God that no one was injured. We coordinated our response with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and corrective action was taken. This is a reminder that accidents do happen and we encourage everyone to exercise caution and extra responsibility especially on school grounds where so many children are present. We encourage parents to never leave children unattended in a vehicle. Any suspected violation of Florida gun statutes on school property will be immediately reported by Good Shepherd Academy to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.”