Arizona man accidentally shoots and critically injures 6-year-old daughter during gun safety lesson
A judge ignored Eldon McInville's pleas, describing his actions as 'exceedingly reckless' and ordering that he be held on a $50,000 bond
An Arizona father faces charges of child abuse and aggravated assault after he accidentally shot his six-year-old daughter, leaving her in critical condition.
According to WISTV, police were called to the Glendale home of 26-year-old Eldon McInville on the afternoon of Thursday, April 25, by McInville himself after a gun safety lesson with his daughter went horribly wrong. He told the 911 dispatcher that his daughter's "intestines were visible".
When officers arrived, he explained that he had been teaching his daughter about the do's and don'ts with firearms, and had cleaned and loaded his new shotgun when it slipped from his grip, went off, and shot the six-year-old in the stomach. He added that the gun was half-cocked but that he believed the safety was on at the time.
The young girl was in critical condition when emergency medical services responded to the residence and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for life-saving surgery. "They said she was the bravest, strongest girl they've ever seen. She was talking. She wasn't crying. She was asking questions as any six-year-old would do," revealed Sgt. John Roth with the Glendale Police Department.
According to court documents, after conducting a search of his residence, officers found a second loaded shotgun in the father's bedroom closet and a loaded .357 Magnum revolver on a TV stand, both unsecured and easily within the reach of his young child.
The documents also stated that McInville told officers he had learned how to clean and load the shotgun from a YouTube video, a piece of information that Virgil Bland, a gun safety class instructor, found very concerning.
"The real issue is it's kind of the blind leading the blind in this situation," he told WISTV. "He's trying to teach his daughter firearm safety when it sounds like, more or less, he was trying to learn firearm safety in his own right." Bland also criticized the 26-year-old for handling the firearm in the presence of his daughter, something he insisted should never be done.
Goth similarly said, "Everybody needs to pay attention with guns and make sure there are no kids around when you're manipulating them in any way. It's just a tragic lesson that many of us have heard. Guns are mishandled for one reason or another and have to strike something, and tragically, this little one was in the way."
McInville made his first appearance in court on Friday, April 26, and broke down crying as the judge brushed away his pleas for mercy and told him he would not be allowed to go home.
The judge described the circumstances of the shooting as "exceedingly reckless" and set his bond at $50,000. He also ordered that McInville not be allowed to meet his daughter even if he posted bail as long as the case against him was pending.
While he is scheduled to make his next appearance in court on May 6, his daughter remains in critical condition and will have to undergo multiple further surgeries.