A 3-year-old child who accidentally shot himself with his father’s gun unknowingly led prosecutors to arrest the suspect wanted in a recent shooting in Houston, Texas, this past Easter Sunday.
A court hearing revealed that Nicholas Thomas, 23, the man accused of murdering Michael Vasquez in the parking lot of Dave and Busters, appeared in front of a judge for the first time this past Thursday.
Prosecutors stated how they were able to tie Thomas to the murder of Vasquez as the gun used in that shooting was the same gun used in an accidental shooting involving the suspect’s son.
Vasquez was leaving the arcade with his daughter and was allegedly approached by Thomas who put Vasquez in a chokehold, pointed a gun to his head and demanded his jewelry on April 4.
Police said Thomas shot Vasquez in front of his daughter before getting away.
Vasquez was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. Then just four days later, on April 8, Thomas’s son accidentally shot himself with his father’s gun.
Thomas was charged with endangering a child in this case and released on a $1,000 bond. In addition, investigators were able to match the shell casings found at the accidental shooting with the shell casing found at the deadly robbery scene outside Dave and Busters. This ultimately led prosecutors to link the murder with Thomas.
Thomas was arrested and charged with capital murder. He remains in Harris County Jail under a $150,000 bail.
According to Nationwide Children’s, “Nearly 1,300 children younger than 18 years of age die from shootings every year.”
If you must have a gun in the house, the site encourages the following tips:
- The best way to keep your children safe from guns is to remove all guns from the home.
- If a gun is in the house, always keep it unloaded and locked. It should be out of reach and sight of children. Keep ammunition and guns locked in separate locations, not together.
- Safety devices, including gun locks, lock boxes and gun safes, should be used for every gun in the house.
- Storage keys and lock combinations should be hidden from children.
- Before visiting friends and relatives, ask if they have guns in their homes. If so, make sure they keep their guns unloaded and locked as well.
- Never leave children unsupervised in a home with a gun.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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