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A Florida father is facing criminal charges after police say his 3-year-old daughter fatally shot herself in the head with his loaded pistol inside the family’s Lake Worth home.
Thomas Chambers, 41, is facing a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child. A judge released him from jail Sunday on his own recognizance.
Police say on February 13, Zuri Chambers, 3, picked up her father’s pistol that was left on a table near the front entrance of the home and shot herself between the eyes. The child pulled the trigger approximately 4 to 6 inches away from her face, according to the police report.
The 3-year-old was airlifted to the Delray Medical Center where she died a short time later.
An autopsy report determined the child’s death to be an accidental self-inflicted penetrating gunshot wound to the head and brain.
While the girl’s death was ruled an accident, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said the charges against the father are warranted since he had received firearm training and knew how to keep his weapons safe.
Chambers, who has no criminal history, had a concealed carry permit, according to police.
According to Florida law, gun owners are required to keep their firearms locked in a box unless carrying them or keeping them close enough to easily use.
Police say the father told them he left the loaded firearm on the table so he would not forget it before leaving for work. Chambers said he carries a weapon to work for safety reasons.
But according to investigators, the fatal incident was the third time the girl had played with a gun she found in the home.
The arrest report states the girl’s mother told police she once woke up to her daughter pointing a gun at her.
Another time, police say the girl grabbed a firearm that was sitting on a laundry basket, the report states.
The girl’s father told police that at no point did he believe his daughter was strong enough to pull the trigger of the pistol that killed her. He said the weapon had a 10-pound trigger pull, which is the only safety on the weapon.
The report states a deputy who did a walkthrough of the home after the shooting found a fully loaded pistol on top of a speaker in Chambers’ bedroom next to a playpen. Police also found an unloaded shotgun in the closet
If convicted, Chambers faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
HLN reached out to Chambers and his family for a comment, but calls were not returned. Court records did not indicate whether he has retained an attorney.