A father in the Hudson Valley is facing charges after he failed to lock up a loaded gun which a toddler took and accidentally injured himself.
Robert Welgos, 45, was arraigned on Monday, June 22 on charges related to having an unsecured loaded firearm in his home that led to a toddler shooting himself.
It is alleged that on Thursday, June 11, Welgos' toddler took the loaded gun from an unlocked safe, discharged the weapon, and injured himself.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. said that Welgos lives with his family, including two children, in Harrison.
Welgos owns several firearms, including a .38 caliber revolver, which he kept loaded in a safe, located in his bedroom on a night table next to his bed.
On June 11, Welgos left the house, leaving the revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition in the unlocked safe. His 3-year-old son, who was playing in the bedroom, took the loaded gun from the unlocked safe, Scarpino said.
While on his father's bed, Scarpino said the child pulled the trigger and fired one shot, shooting his own right foot and injuring his right hand. The toddler was taken to the Westchester County Medical Center and was treated for injuries following the shooting.
Scarpino said Welgos “is facing charges because he failed to securely lock the firearm in a safe storage depository and failed to render it incapable of being fired by the use of a gun-locking device appropriate to that weapon,” noting that the gun was registered and Welgos held a legal target permit for the firearm.
Welgos was arrested and charged with two counts of safe storage of rifles, shotguns, and firearms, and endangering the welfare of a child because two children - both under the age of 16 - were in his residence.
“Every parent is charged with keeping their children safe but when loaded weapons are left in easy reach and not secured that parent fails in their duty,” Scarpino said. “In this case, a little one was injured, but thankfully, not killed.
“This could easily have turned from trauma to tragedy.” Scarpino added, “This case is an important reminder to all gun owners: Secure your weapons appropriately. Always keep them out of reach of children and other household members. It’s the law.”
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