Caught on camera: Child fires gun in room full of kids, Columbus man pleads guilty

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOIO) - A Columbus man pleaded guilty on Monday after becoming the first person to be prosecuted for breaking the city’s gun storage laws; he was charged after a child found an unsecured gun and fired it in a room full of other kids.

“As a father, the images of a small child reaching into a couch cushion, finding a loaded firearm and discharging the weapon nearly pointed at his face are almost too chilling to watch,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “There’s nothing wrong with responsible gun ownership, but leaving an unsecured gun around house for kids to find is not responsible. That’s why it’s important that the City passed its safe storage law, and why we will continue to defend our right to enact commonsense measures to keep our kids and communities safe. Too often, these incidents end in tragedy, but the fact is they are almost always preventable.”

As part of his plea deal, Matt Rivas will serve 10 days in jail, with another 170 days suspended. He will also be fined $150 and must serve two years of probation. During that time, he’s prohibited from owning, possessing or using a firearm.

According to Klein’s office, one of the children was nearly hit, another sustained burn injuries and loss of hearing.

On March 11 in Cleveland, a 7-year-old boy died from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot after finding an unsecure weapon in a Clark-Fulton home.

Two people, Bryan Irby and Charticka Mock, were indicted on involuntary manslaughter and endangering children charges.

A man who identified himself as Bryan was seen in police bodycam video at MetroHealth telling officers what happened.

“We [were] in the bedroom asleep and we just heard a gunshot,” he said.

It’s unclear how or if the two are related to the child.

At least three similar incidents have been reported in Northeast Ohio over the last year.

“I normally tell people, if it’s locked up, if you’re not using it, if you’re not actively going to need it... lock it up. It’s not going to walk away, it’s not going to go off on its own. It’s always somebody that touched it,” said Beau Brickman of Stonewall Tactical in Broadview Heights.

He encouraged gun owners to consider gun safes to store their firearms, he also pointed out that all of their guns are sold with locks.