SARASOTA -- The father of a 3-year-old who shot his 1-year-old sister has been charged with culpable negligence for allegedly leaving a firearm in a car's glove box in reach of children, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
The mother of the two children was picking them up from daycare on May 15 at 4:35 p.m. at the First Church of God located at 351 Orange Road in Venice, according to a release. She told the 3-year-old to get into the car and buckled the 1 year-old into a car seat.
Another parent picking up his children began talking to her, and they had a brief conversation standing less than 10 feet away from the vehicle, deputies said. The two heard a loud bang that they originally thought was a transformer.
The mother walked back to her vehicle and discovered her daughter crying with blood around her face, according to a release. Someone called first responders while the mother tried to help her daughter, and another parent checked on the 3-year-old boy, who was holding a handgun.
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The 1-year-old was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and treated. She was released on May 19, deputies said.
The 33-year-old mother told deputies she had no knowledge of a firearm in the vehicle, and that she specifically didn't keep one there out of concern for her children.
The father of the children, Rey Franzen, told deputies with his attorney present on Wednesday that he remembered leaving a firearm in the glove box five days before the incident, according to a report. He said he left it there when purchasing alcohol, because he didn't want to take the firearm in the store with him.
Franzen said he then forgot about the gun because his family was in town and he was busy.
Deputies arrested Franzen and charged him with culpable negligence. He was released from the Sarasota County jail on $1,500 bond.