WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – Three people face charges after a 14-year-old boy in Watertown accidentally shot himself in the head in September.
Authorities said the teen had access to an unsecured revolver while he was home alone on Sept. 30 and accidentally shot himself while playing with it. The boy has since been released from the hospital.
“Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is reporting the boy’s recovery from his injury is miraculous,” said Joshua Bernegger, chief of the Watertown Police Department.
Police said that on Sept. 30, the boy’s grandmother, 59-year-old Elizabeth Salcevksi, called 911 to report that her grandson had fallen down a set of stairs and was bleeding heavily from the head.
Responding officers found the boy on the first floor of the home, bleeding from a head injury. Police said he was conscious but incoherent. Police followed the trail of blood up the stairs to an adult family member’s bedroom. Inside the bedroom, police found a significant amount of blood and an empty holster for a revolver.
Salcevski and her partner, 55-year-old Jose Soto-Berrios, and the boy’s mother, 36-year-old Patricia Milot, who all live in the home, were arrested and charged.
Investigators said 20 unsecured firearms registered to Soto-Berrios were found in the bedroom of Salcevski and Soto-Berrios. Three secured firearms were also found in the home.
“Kids are curious and if they find a gun, they’re gonna look at it and want to play with it,” Bernegger said.
Salcevski and Soto-Berrios were each charged with one count of criminal negligent storage of a firearm, four counts of risk of injury to a minor and four counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. Salcevski is being held on a $200,000 bond pending arraignment. Soto-Berrios was arraigned Tuesday and is being held on a $200,000 bond.
Milot was charged with four counts of risk of injury to a minor — one count for each child living in the home. She was released on a promise to appear in court at a later date.
The accidental shooting happened just after new gun legislation went into effect on Oct. 1, which tightened Connecticut’s storage requirements to include all firearms regardless of whether someone under 18 lives in the household.
Ethan’s Law is named after Ethan Song, a 15-year-old from Guilford who died after accidentally shooting himself with an unsecured gun at a friend’s home in 2018. It became a law in 2019 with bipartisan support and requires all firearms, loaded and unloaded, to be safely stored in homes occupied by minors under 18.
“If we can just lock down the guns when they are not in the gun owners’ control, you’re going to see a dramatic drop in the deaths our children,” said Kristin Song, Ethan Song’s mom.
Ethan’s Law also allows prosecutors to criminally charge the owner of a gun that isn’t properly stored.