12-Year-Old California Boy Fatally Shoots Himself by Accident With Friend's Gun at Sleepover

A 12-year-old boy who suffered a fatal gunshot wound over the weekend in Chula Vista, California, appears to have accidentally shot himself with a friend's gun.

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A 12-year-old boy fatally shot himself by accident after with a gun that his friend brought to a sleepover at his home in Chula Vista, California, authorities said.

The Los Angeles Times reports the victim, who family identified as Maximilian Mendoza, was given access to the gun during the sleepover at the Mendoza family’s home. 

Chula Vista police received a call about the shooting on Saturday morning at Woodland Hills Condominium Complex. When police arrived, they found Mendoza with a gunshot wound on the sidewalk. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

According to CBS San Diego, investigators determined that the gun involved in the boy’s death was brought to the victim’s home by a 15-year-old boy who had been invited to spend the night. 

“Sometime during the sleepover, it appears, the victim was given access to the firearm while inside the residence and then accidentally shot himself,” a Chula Vista Police Department spokesperson told CBS. “The victim was then moved outside by family members, where he was located by officers.”

Detectives are questioning how the 15-year-old, who’s identity is being withheld, got the firearm.

Although no arrests have been made, San Diego attorney and legal analyst Dan Eaton told CBS San Diego a felony charge called “criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree” could be brought up.

“A person can be subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of as long as three years,” Eaton said. “It’s not just parents. It’s any adult. If you have a firearm in your home and it is reasonably likely that a child is going to have access to that firearm, lock it up. Keep it in a secure place because if you don’t, potentially, you could face criminal charges.”

GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Mendoza’s funeral costs.

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