LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A 3-year-old boy is dead after police say his mother mishandled a gun. The incident occurred at an apartment complex in the northeast valley near Charleston and Nellis the night of Dec. 16.
Metro Police are saying the mother should have known better in what is described as a terrible accident. They say she was showing off her new gun to friends with two children present when a bullet struck and killed her son.
Jasmin Vargas, 24, faces two child abuse charges.
Vargas was a no-show in court this afternoon, as the judge said she refused to be transported there. He kept her bail at $80,000.
“This is an incredibly serious allegation, tragic allegation,” said Judge Joe Bonaventure of the Las Vegas Justice Court. “This is very serious conduct, very negligent conduct. Doesn’t appear to be intentional conduct. Again, the allegation appears to be a mishandling of a firearm.”
Police say she was in a parking lot with friends and pulled the trigger of her new gun in the direction of her son, John Jaffey, and a friend’s child. She reportedly did not know it was loaded. John was shot in the head.
A neighbor in the apartment complex drove the mother and child to Sunrise Hospital, where John was pronounced dead.
We spoke with a man who lives nearby about the incident.
“I was watching TV, and I heard a loud gunshot, and it just, I knew it was a gunshot. You just, you know when it’s a gunshot,” said Gabriel Andrew. “Shortly after that, I heard the sirens and then the helicopter going around.”
A Metro lieutenant says Vargas did lawfully purchase that gun recently and that he is seeing tragic cases like this one too often.
“There is nothing more tragic than when I show up and have to talk to people about the loss or injury, substantial injury to another family member that was preventable,” said Metro Lt. David Valenta.
Valenta says three other people were killed this year in Metro’s jurisdiction because a gun was mishandled, and seven others were injured.
He also says out of eleven teen suicides, five were the result of a gun not being secured properly. Those teens then had access to those guns.
Those cases are referred to the district attorney, who then decides whether to pursue charges against the gun owners.
The I-Team reached out to the child’s father. The parents are not together, and he declined to comment.
We also found a Twitter account under the name Jasmin Vargas, along with a link to a previous cute baby contest.
Vargas is expected back in court on Tuesday.