Police said the girl, Alondra Cervantes, was accidentally shot about 3 p.m. by her 17-year-old who was handling a 12-gauge pump-style shotgun — purchased for about $200 or $250 — as Cervantes’ friend stood nearby in the small bedroom.
Although the 17-year-old brother was arrested and remains in Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center, charged with involuntary manslaughter, Sparks Police may increase the charges and ask the judge to try him as an adult, said Commander Brian Williams.
“I would like to emphasize the very tragic situation for the family for the community. Our hearts go out for them, as they would for any family,” Miller said.
Miller said the parents have expressed to police that they feel they have lost both children in the fateful minutes of Monday afternoon.
The arrest was not the first for Cervantes’ brother, Miller said.
The brother “obtained” the shotgun, which is about two feet long, two days before the accident, Miller said. However, the brother will not cooperate with police and is withholding the name of the person from whom he purchased the gun.
The brother was apparently “enamored” with the gang lifestyle and buying the shotgun went with his plan to affiliate with one of the local gangs, Miler said.
Cervantes and her friend were hanging out in one of the bedrooms of the apartment when the brother pulled out the weapon and began to “show it off.”
“He purchased it with that in mind,” Miller said.
He told police he always had the safety mechanism on when handling it. He was showing his sister how to load and unload the gun and was simulating the actions of shooting another person when he pointed it at his sister.
Unfortunately, the brother did not have the safety mechanism engaged when he simulated shooting his sister, with instantaneous and tragic results. Her friend did not immediately see Cervantes get shot but “she witnessed the immediate aftermath,” Miller said.
At first, 911 received a call that alerted them to the story that a man had entered the residence through a window, shot the girl and escaped through the window.
Through their investigation, police found that Cervantes was not shot by an intruder. The brother then admitted to handling the shotgun and accidentally shooting his sister.
“We’re continuing to investigate, trying to determine where (the gun) came, from whom and concluding with some follow-up interviews,” Miller said. “The case is ongoing.”
An investigation such as this may take at least three to four months to complete, Miller said.
“It takes time to put together reports and other materials,” he said.