LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed multiple criminal charges against a San Fernando Valley man for allegedly failing to properly store a loaded firearm which a nine year-old boy took to his elementary school. The charges follow the filing of two similar cases by the City Attorney against individuals in the past five months.
“20,000 children and teens are killed or injured in the U.S. by guns each year. This is a public health emergency as well as a public safety issue. We can and will do more to prevent kids from becoming victims,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Feuer. “Unsecured guns in the home where children are present is a tragedy waiting to happen. Half of all unintentional shooting deaths involving children occur at home. That’s why we will continue to be vigilant in enforcing gun violence prevention laws, and educating everyone who owns a firearm on proper storage.”
The City Attorney’s comprehensive effort to keep kids safe from gun violence includes educating parents at LAUSD middle schools, and partnering with various gun violence prevention groups, community and faith based organizations to raise public awareness and promote gun safety. Feuer and these partners will host a Town Hall on safe storage of guns at Holman United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles this spring.
Defendant Aaron Martin, 41, is charged with four criminal counts including: keeping a loaded firearm in a location where a child is likely to gain access; allowing a child to carry a firearm off-premises; permitting a child to be placed in a situation where their person or health is endangered; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Each count carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. The City Attorney will also be seeking conditions which would prohibit the possession of any weapons.
Charges stem from an incident on March 4, 2015 when school officials noticed a 9 year-old student of Nestle Elementary School in Tarzana place a weapon into a rain gutter near the restroom. Responding Los Angeles School Police officers recovered a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, loaded with 11 live rounds of ammunition. The child allegedly brought the weapon to school to show other students after taking it from underneath a dog bed in defendant’s residence.
The child, his mother and younger sister had allegedly been living with the defendant in Canoga Park for the past three months. Investigating officers recovered two additional weapons from the home including a loaded Ruger 357 magnum revolver in a case underneath the defendant’s bed and a loaded Ruger .45 caliber semiautomatic wrapped in a t-shirt in a nightstand. Two of the weapons, including the one recovered from the school, were registered to the defendant and a third weapon was registered to another individual. The child’s mother has separately been charged with felony child endangerment by the District Attorney’s Office.
Deputy City Attorney Bryan Bowers of the City Attorney’s Gun Violent Prevention Unit is prosecuting the case. Arraignment is scheduled for March 30, 2015.