FRESNO – A criminal charge has been filed against the former gun safety instructor whose young stepdaughter was killed when his 2-year-old son accidentally fired an unsecured handgun at her.
Jared Dubois, a former Marine who taught firearm safety in the military and to the Boy Scouts, was charged with negligent storage of a firearm for the May 29 incident that took the life of 6-year-old Emily Lavender inside their northeast Fresno home.
Dubois posted bail and was released from Fresno County jail on Wednesday evening. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.
“He feels a lot of guilt about this,” said Dubois’ attorney, Mark Coleman. “He realizes that his mistake led to the death of his daughter.”
Dubois has no previous criminal history, according to Coleman. The gun that was used in the death of Lavender was a .45 caliber semi-automatic Springfield.
Coleman said the gun was usually placed behind a plastic storage container underneath the bed inside the master bedroom where Dubois and his wife slept. The night before the shooting, Dubois and his wife had moved some items around after replacing their king-size bed with a queen. Some items, however, hadn’t been yet put back.
“The bed had been moved. Some of the things had been moved out from under the bed and things hadn’t been put back yet,” Coleman said. “It was really a matter of hours, less than a day, and it changed the whole circumstances.”
The gun was stored in a visible spot that gave Dubois’ 2-year-old son easy access. The toddler accidentally fired one round, which hit Lavender in the chest while she was playing with her sisters in one of the bedrooms inside their North Boyd Avenue residence.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer issued a statement following the shooting saying he hoped all gun owners would remember the importance of keeping guns safe and secure, especially if there are children inside the house.