Three-year-old boy shoots himself in the eye

ALLENTOWN, PA – A tragic incident in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has led to charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment against 28-year-old Jose Hilario Abreu. The 3-year-old Elijah Abreu Borgen, reportedly shot himself to death on March 28 with a handgun that Abreu had left unattended.

Lehigh County authorities allege that Abreu left the semi-automatic weapon fully loaded under the sofa where the child and another 2-year-old were seated and then left the room. When he heard a loud sound, he returned to discover Elijah had suffered a gunshot wound to his chest.

The weapon, according to authorities, was found atop a pillow on the couch where the toddlers had been sitting. Testing showed a presumptive positive indication for gunshot residue on the child’s hands. The Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest declared that the child’s death was accidental.

Abreu, arraigned on Friday, has been remanded to Lehigh County jail. His defense is being managed by the county public defender’s office. The tragic case underlines a worrying trend of fatal shootings linked to young children across the US. Incidents in Indianapolis, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana highlight the urgent issue.

Data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that over the past two decades, hundreds of children have lost their lives while mishandling firearms, with over half of the fatalities occurring in the child’s own house.

Safe storage laws and procedures can be a potential solution to this issue, as per a 2023 report by non-profit Everytown For Gun Safety. As of early 2024, 26 states had implemented some form of gun-safe storage or child access prevention laws.