So I guess if all else fails, blame the baby!?!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++
Police not certain 4-year-old pulled trigger
By J.M. Brown and Joshua Molina, MEDIANEWS STAFF
Inside Bay Area
Article Last Updated:05/14/2007 02:41:58 AM PDT
VALLEJO Authorities are trying to figure out whether a 4-year-old Vallejo boy shot and killed his disabled father Saturday.

Brian Sparks, 32, died of a single gunshot wound to the head. The boy's mother, Carol Sparks, told Vallejo police that her son pulled the trigger, but authorities suspect he did not.

Police are trying to match statements from the boy and his mother with physical evidence from the scene, said Vallejo police Lt. Rick Nichelman.

He declined to elaborate on what specific weapons tests were being conducted.

Detectives released the mother after questioning her Saturday, but Nichelman said he did not know whether police allowed her to reunite with her son. The boy, the couple's only child, was released to grandparents within hours of the

4:35 p.m. Saturday shooting.

With authorities revealing few details, exactly what happened in the small white house on Georgia Street remains a mystery.

California is one of 19 states in the country that has a "safe storage" law, which requires owners to lock up their guns in the home to prevent easy access for children. State law also requires that all guns be sold with child-safety locks.

Authorities have not said whether the gun was locked up.

Across the United States, 1.7 million children under 18 live with loaded and unlocked guns in their homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Of 29,569 deaths nationwide from guns in 2004, the most recent period for which statistics were available, 649 were accidental shootings, according to the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence.

While it is unclear whether the boy pulled the trigger, Saturday's shooting would not be the first this year involving a child and parent.

A 4-year-old boy in Orlando, Fla., shot his father in the arm with the father's .45 caliber handgun in April. The father, who survived, said he kept the gun in his fanny pack at night and in a locked closet during the day.

A 2-year-old boy in St. Paul, Minn., shot his sleeping father in the arm in March. He took the gun from his mother's purse, according to the father.

Saturday's shooting stunned neighbors, who crouched on their knees, hugging one another as they cried.

Authorities said that because of Sparks' severe disability from a work-related head injury in the late 1990s, detectives are investigating "quality-of-life scenarios" as a possible factor in the shooting.

Nichelman declined to cite the severity of Sparks' disability or say whether it included a diminished mental capacity.

An autopsy is scheduled for today, a Solano County sheriff's deputy said.

Despite reports from a neighbor that the family collected guns, police said the only weapon they found in the house was the one involved in the shooting.

Although Nichelman declined to specify the type of handgun used, he acknowledged that some guns would be quite difficult for a 4-year-old to operate.

"It's a very tightknit family, very close and loving," the neighbor, said Sunday. "It's just like a total shock."