DELTONA, Fla. – Police arrested a Florida woman Monday after a toddler allegedly fired the woman’s loaded handgun inside her parked car, shattering a window.
Abbie Maldonado, 30, left the 3-year-old in the back of the vehicle outside the Good Shepherd Academy, an elementary school in Deltona, so she could pick up her son, according to authorities.
“Maldonado got out to walk around and left the boy unsecured in the back of the vehicle with the rear passenger door propped open so she could keep an eye on the child,” Gary Davidson, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, told WFTV.
Deputies said she heard a loud bang while she walked with several other parents, but didn’t think it was a gunshot. Maldonaldo even walked over to her car twice, once to take the 3-year-old into the school to go to the bathroom, without noticing the damaged glass, according to the sheriff’s office.
Maldonado only realized what had happened when she walked back to her car and heard broken glass crunch under her feet. Deputies said she thought someone might have vandalized her car, but then she noticed the handgun that she left in the side door pocket sitting on her front seat. After checking the child for injuries, she went inside the school to report what happened, the sheriff’s office said.
“Nobody’s hurt, but we had a parent that has a concealed weapon permit and a child got a hold of it and pulled the trigger,” a 911 caller said.
Deputies responded around 3:45 p.m. and arrested Maldonado on a felony charge of child neglect. Her boyfriend drove to the school to pick up the children.
“Maldonaldo told deputies that she normally keeps the gun locked in the trunk,” Davidson said. The state of Florida granted Maldonado a concealed-carry weapon permit last month, according to the report.
The round shattered the driver’s side window and lodged in the frame of the car. No one was hurt in the incident.
The school issued the following statement about the incident:
“This is a reminder that accidents do happen and we encourage everyone to exercise caution and extra responsibility especially on school grounds where so many children are present. We encourage parents to never leave children unattended in a vehicle. Any suspected violation of Florida gun statutes on school property will be immediately reported by Good Shepherd Academy to (the) Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.”