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Dad of toddler who shot mom had several unsecured guns in Altamonte Springs apartment, cops say
Orlando Sentinel - 10/13/2021
The gun that a toddler used to accidentally shoot his mom at their Altamonte Springs apartment in August was stored by the boy’s father inside a Paw Patrol backpack — where it was kept loaded with a bullet in the chamber, with no safety or lock, according to an affidavit for the father’s arrest.
The affidavit states that Veondre Avery, 22, admitted to keeping the Glock 43 inside the brightly colored backpack adorned with cartoon dogs, which he said typically sat next to the bed he shared with his girlfriend, the boy’s 21-year-old mother, Shamaya Lynn.
On Aug. 11, authorities say the 2-year-old found the gun and shot Lynn in the head while she was participating in a Zoom call for work. Avery now faces charges of negligent manslaughter and unsafe storage of a firearm. He was arrested Tuesday and remains jailed.
The affidavit, released Wednesday, shed new light on the investigation and Avery’s account of the shooting at the Spanish Trace Drive apartment.
It also shows investigators determined that Avery could not have been home when Lynn was killed, because he had been at a chiropractor appointment during her Zoom call and was dropped off by a Lyft driver at 11:01 a.m., minutes after concerned coworkers called 911.
One coworker, who lives in Daytona Beach, told detectives she could see a child in a diaper jumping on a bed in the background of the Zoom call when she heard a loud noise and the child started crying.
Lynn’s head moved backward, she said, then forward, revealing what looked like blood on her nose, before she was no longer visible. The coworker called 911 but didn’t know Lynn’s address. Minutes later, with the Zoom call still running, Avery arrived home.
Avery told authorities he first encountered his son, who complained that his head hurt. Avery said he noticed a bump on the child’s forehead and went to ask Lynn about the injury when he found her slumped over on her computer chair, covered in blood.
According to the affidavit, Avery called 911 with Lynn’s phone and began CPR, which he performed until law enforcement arrived. He also said he noticed his Glock lying on the bed and moved it to his nightstand to get it out of his kids’ reach, the report shows.
Avery told investigators he owns four firearms that were in the home. The couple had two children, the 2-year-old and an 11-month-old. Asked if his older child knew anything about firearms, Avery said the boy liked to play with toy cap guns, the affidavit said.
The toddler was taken by a child protective services officer to Kids House of Seminole, a child-advocacy center in Sanford. There, they determined cuts and bruising on the child’s forehead were likely caused by him being struck by the slide of the gun when it fired.
Investigators tried to interview the boy but determined he wasn’t capable due to his age. According to the affidavit, he fell asleep on his grandmother as she tried to help him through the interview.
A search of the apartment turned up four guns: the Glock that killed Lynn, another unlocked handgun on a closet shelf that investigators said could be reached by a child and two unsecured rifles on a higher shelf.
The detective who wrote the affidavit noted the “responsibility lies with” Avery to “prevent the children from accessing” his guns. The colorful backpack where the gun was stored would be especially enticing for the boy to explore, the detective added.
“I believe [Avery] displayed disregard for this responsibility and his culpable negligence contributed to the actions of [the toddler], who is too young to display malicious intent, leading to the death of [Lynn],” the affidavit concluded.
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