The mother of two small boys has been arrested in Colorado after her 3-year-old accidentally shot her 2-year-old with her gun during a game of "cops and robbers."
Monica Abeyta, 30, was arrested on June 5 by police on suspicion of felony child abuse resulting in bodily injury after the game between the boys went wrong, according to KKTV.
Abeyta admitted to smoking marijuana the night before the incident, as well as using cocaine and meth in the past. She told police she had not used meth in nearly a year, but a pipe and a substance believed to be meth were reportedly found at the scene.
The boys found the gun in Abeyta's purse, and at some point during their play, the gun went off, striking the 2-year-old in the lower back. Medics rushed him to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. The boy's condition is serious but stable and he is expected to survive.
The boys' sister, 14, said she got a call while out with friends that her brother had been shot but learned few other details. She described the series of events as "all pretty traumatic."
"They said that it was in her purse and that he got it out of there,” the sister told KCNC-TV. "You [would] think that mother would have the instinct to take care of her child. I guess she just doesn’t have that.”
The sister was able to provide police with what she believes to be the chain of events, telling them her brothers wanted to play "cops and robbers" and something probably went wrong.
Police could not immediately confirm the sister's account but they do believe the shooting to be accidental.
A neighbor came to Abeyta's defense.
"I just don’t want people to put a bad look on her because of what happened,” neighbor Alazia Gray said. “Because that’s not the type of parent she is. She is a very, very loving parent. Her kids are very, very well taken care of.”
Abeyta told police she normally keeps her gun inside a lock box in the home but had taken it out because she heard a noise the night before, according to KKTV.
Family members were relieved to hear the 2-year-old would likely recover from his injuries, something that was not apparent at the time of the shooting.
"I thought he was going to die," his sister said.
According to FindLaw, Colorado law states that if a child is seriously injured due to abuse, it is categorized as a class 3 felony with a minimum one-year prison sentence.