Police arrested an 18-year-old man after his 2-year-old brother shot himself in his leg at a gas station near Costco, according to Fox 8.
Zyaire Cornelius is charged with second-degree cruelty to juveniles and with illegally possessing a stolen firearm, the New Orleans police report, according to Fox 8.
Allegedly, Cornelius left an unsupervised weapon in the backseat of his car within reach of the toddler, WVUE-TV reported.
The investigation discovered two guns: “an AR-15 pistol wedged in between the driver seat and the center console,” according to News Onyx.
Cornelius was taken to Orleans Justice Center jail on Tuesday, and his bond was set Wednesday afternoon at $70,000 by Orleans Parish Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn, Fox 8 reports.
The NOPD detained Cornelius and a 16-year-old female companion for questioning but only arrested Cornelius.
“Upon questioning and further investigation, detectives determined Cornelius to be the perpetrator in this incident and obtained an arrest warrant on one count each of possession of a stolen firearm and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. Cornelius was subsequently arrested and booked accordingly into the Orleans Parish Justice Center,” News Onyx reports.
The young child is said to be in critical but stable condition. However, the 2-year-old boy is described as losing “a large amount of blood loss” from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to his leg, according to court documents, Fox 8 reports.
“The gross negligence of Mr. Cornelius leaving the firearm in the rear seat with the 2-year-old victim resulted in the 2-year-old victim shooting himself in the leg,” the NOPD investigator said, according to News Onyx.
Authorities also found a “Glock 19 firearm with an extended magazine on the rear passenger floorboard.” Police identified the Glock 19 as a reported stolen firearm since 2020, News Onyx reports.
Cornelius faces up to 40 years in state prison if convicted of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. Possession of a stolen firearm comes with a sentence of 1-5 years for a first offense based on Louisiana law, Fox 8 reports.