ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Monique Villescas bought a new .45-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun Saturday.
The purchase almost killed her.
Later that same day, Villescas’ 2½-year-old son shot her and his father with it after pulling it out of the woman’s purse, police say.
Now the two young parents face criminal felony child abuse charges.
“With Second Amendment rights comes responsibility, and these parents obviously practiced no responsibility at all,” said Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Simon Drobik, who was the first officer to respond to the shooting.
Drobik said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also is investigating whether the child’s father – 24-year-old Justin Reynolds, a convicted felon – will be charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Police were called to the shooting early Saturday afternoon. According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, Villescas and Reynolds were in their motel room.
Villescas’ purse was on top of a 3-foot fridge. She was sitting on the bed and Reynolds was standing facing her.
That’s when their son jumped up and grabbed Villescas’ purse.
“He discovered the firearm and armed himself,” an APD detective wrote in the criminal complaint.
The toddler shot his father in the buttock. The bullet then exited out of his right thigh and hit Villescas in the upper right arm, exiting from the back of her arm, according to the complaint.
Reynolds immediately grabbed the gun from the toddler.
Both parents were together when they bought the gun and bullets earlier that day.
“(Reynolds and Villescas) knew or should have known of the danger involved by having a loaded firearm in the presence of small children and acted with a reckless disregard for the safety and or health of (their) children,” the detective wrote in the complaint.
Reynolds and Villescas were both charged with child abuse without great bodily harm.
Reynolds was booked into the county jail on $15,000 bail. Villescas wasn’t yet listed in online jail records late Thursday afternoon.