VIDEO: Child finds gun in couch cushion, fires it; man pleads guilty to charges in case

Man was charged under new city ordinance in Columbus, Ohio

The city attorney in Columbus, Ohio released a video showing a child finding a gun in a couch cushion and firing it “nearly pointed at his face” as a warning to other parents about gun safety.

In the video, two small children are playing inside a house, when one of the children reaches into a couch cushion and pulls out a gun. The gun discharges, nearly striking the child and causing burns and short-term hearing loss, according to a press release from Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.

You can watch the video in the player at the top of this article. Even though nobody was injured, the video may be disturbing to watch and discretion is advised.

After the gun fires, the video shows two adults running into the room. The gun discharges again as a man picks it up from the couch.

That man — Matthew Rivas — pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent storage of a firearm and one count of child endangerment and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, 170 days of jail suspended, a $150 fine and two years of probation.

The gun used in the incident was mandated to be confiscated and destroyed.

“A parent’s worst nightmare is that something or someone will hurt, possibly kill your child, but to know that it can happen in the care of someone who is supposed to protect them is heartbreaking,” said Lashawndra Allen, the mother of two of the juvenile victims in the case. “We cannot control everything that happens to our children but we can lower their chances of being hurt at our hands by practicing gun safety. Talking to our children about guns is not enough, especially with young children. I cannot stress enough the importance of exercising gun safety and using a gunlock or safe. We were lucky and I am very thankful that the situation did not result in a funeral. This will forever be a critical memory for me and my family. I hope to spread awareness about gun safety and eliminate events like this from happening in the future.”

The city of Columbus recently passed gun safety ordinances including measures to require safe storage of firearms and limits on high-capacity magazines.

The city is facing multiple lawsuits over the ordinances, according to the city attorney.

“There’s nothing wrong with responsible gun ownership, but leaving an unsecured gun around (the) house for kids to find is not responsible. That’s why it’s important that the City passed its safe storage law, and why we will continue to defend our right to enact commonsense measures to keep our kids and communities safe. Too often, these incidents end in tragedy, but the fact is they are almost always preventable,” said Klein.

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.