Man injures son, 3, while cleaning rifle
Feb 24, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A Salt Lake man was cleaning his rifle early Saturday when it went off, sending a bullet into his condo ceiling and sharp shards into his young son's shoulder.
An ambulance took the boy, 3, to the hospital in serious condition.
"My job is to defend and protect my family," the distraught father, Marwin Juan, said Saturday. "It killed me inside."
Juan, 40, a former armored car service employee and security guard, said he normally takes great care with his guns. Not only has he taken gun safety classes, he said, but he has been certified to carry a gun for work.
Juan said he normally cleans his guns on the lanai of his fifth-floor condominium at Lake Shore Tower, but decided to clean his rifle in the living room because it was cold and windy outside. His three kids were across the room,
The rifle had no ammunition clip attached, he said.
"I assumed it was empty, but one was in the chamber," he said, recalling the last time he used it was Feb. 17 at the Koko Head range. "To clear it, you have to pull the trigger. I pulled the trigger."
"Chaos" ensued, he said.
He quickly tended to his wounded boy, stopping the bleeding with an ice pack.
But his other two children, 12 and 13, were "freaking out," he said. His wife came out of the shower and called 911.
Juan said his son's condition has stabilized and he remained hospitalized Saturday afternoon.
Police arrested Juan at 1:45 a.m. on suspicion of first-degree reckless endangering, but released him at about 2 p.m. without charges. The prosecutor's office declined to pursue the case.
Shortly after his release, Juan returned home, pained that all three of his children were hurt by his actions.
"I'm not going to do this in front of them no more," he said. "I'm seriously considering selling my guns."
Neighbors say Juan is a caring parent.
"He's always with his kids, and he takes good care of them," Melanie Arneson said. "He's a good father. It's tragic, but accidents do happen."
Other neighbors at 2920 Ala Ilima St. said news of the accident has alarmed them and left them wondering whether it could have endangered others. The 16-story building has six units on each floor.
"It's a building, not like a regular house," said longtime resident Amy Tsuru, 72. "And he was doing it in front of the children "
She said she wonders how many others in the building might have firearms.
Resident manager Art Williams said there are no firearms restrictions in the building's policies.
But he added, "I believe nobody should be allowed to have a gun."
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