LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed multiple criminal charges against a parent for allegedly allowing his 14 year-old son to take a loaded firearm and ammunition from an unsecured location. The case follows the filing of a similar criminal case against a parent by the City Attorney’s Office in October. "These events could easily have ended in tragedy. That is why keeping guns out of the hands of our kids is so important,” said Feuer. “My Office will continue to aggressively enforce our gun violence prevention laws as well as educate parents on how to safely store their firearms.”
Defendant Santiago Chavez, 54, was charged with three criminal counts including: allowing a child to carry a firearm off-premises; contributing to the delinquency of a minor; and permitting a child to be placed in a situation where their person or health is endangered. Each count carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $1,000 fine. The City Attorney will also be seeking weapons conditions which could prohibit the possession of any weapons.
The City Attorney’s Gun Violence Prevention Coordinator Greg Dorfman is prosecuting the case.
Charges stem from an incident in September, 2014 when the Defendant’s juvenile son allegedly took a semi-automatic handgun from his father’s bedroom after receiving a call from a friend that three other teens with whom he had had a conflict over the weekend were in an alley behind his home located near Carver Middle School in South Los Angeles. The defendant’s son rode to the location and allegedly confronted the other juveniles. During the altercation, the firearm was allegedly brandished by the 14-year old in his waistband causing the other males to flee the location. The defendant’s son allegedly gave the firearm to a friend who hid the weapon at his home after hearing sirens. Investigating officers with the Los Angeles School Police made contact with the boys later that afternoon after receiving a call of a man with a gun. Officers recovered the gun which was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition in the magazine. The firearm was registered to Defendant Chavez. During a follow-up investigation, Chavez told officers that the gun was kept unloaded under a towel in an unlocked dresser drawer in his bedroom. A loaded magazine was kept in a separate drawer in the same dresser. The defendant’s son was allegedly aware of the gun’s location.
The case against Chavez follows the filing of a case in October, 2014 against a parent who allegedly allowed her 17 year-old son to bring a fully loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, with an additional fully loaded seven round magazine, to Will Rogers High school in Van Nuys. None of the weapons found in the defendant’s home were locked or properly stored including one weapon found in a kitchen cabinet near the sink.
In addition, Women Against Gun Violence is educating parents on safely storing firearms at schools where the City Attorney’s Neighborhood School Safety Program is established. The City Attorney has also worked closely with LAPD in the past months to identify and verify that individuals prohibited from possessing firearms in neighborhoods around schools and in gang injunction zones are in compliance with state law.