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Mother, male friend plead not guilty in 3-year-old’s shooting death

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on March 28, 2012 at 6:05 am with 32 Comments »
March 28, 2012 3:22 pm

A mother and her male friend Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter in the accidental shooting of a 3-year-old at a Tacoma gas station near the Tacoma Mall.

Eric Vita, 23, and Jahnisha McIntosh, 22, were charged in the March 14 death of Julio Segura-McIntosh. McIntosh was the boy’s mother.

Vita’s bail was set at $25,000. McIntosh’s bail was set at $15,000. Vita was ordered to have no contact with McIntosh.

According to Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, the child retrieved a loaded 9mm handgun belonging to Vita from under the driver’s seat while the two adults were out of the car and accidentally shot himself in the head while standing or kneeling on the passenger seat.

Vita, who has a concealed weapons permit, had been carrying the gun in his waistband. He removed the gun and placed it under the passenger seat when he went to pump gas. Vita told investigators he took the gun from his waistband because his pants were hanging low and because the last time a gas station attendant saw his gun police were called.

After Vita left the van, the toddler, who had been riding in a child seat in the back of the van, left that seat, went to the front of the van and asked his mother, who was driving, for candy. McIntosh, the prosecutor said, retrieved the gun from under the passenger seat and placed it under the driver’s seat. She then left the car to go inside the gas station store leaving her 3-year-old and an 8-month-old daughter in the van.

Vita had showed off the gun to friends with the children present and on one occasion offered to let the toddler hold the gun before another adult intervened, the prosecutor said.

“Nothing is sadder than the death of a child,” Lindquist said, “and when the deathis the result of criminal negligence, there needs to be accountability. Guns are inherently dangerous and the law, as well as common sense, requires that guns be handled responsibly, especially around children.”

The toddler’s death was the third accidental shooting of a child within three weeks in Western Washington. On Feb. 22, an 8-year-old Bremerton girl was seriously wounded when a gun in a classmate’s backpack accidentally went off. On March 10, a 7-year-old Snohomish County girl died after her brother found a gun in the family car and it went off.

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. hultmale says:

    I suppose the shooting in Marysville are still being ‘investigated’.

  2. hultmale says:

    I suppose the shooting in Marysville is still being ‘investigated’.

  3. reality476 says:

    The mother and step father in Bremerton, involved in a similar case, were charged with ‘criminal assault.’ The felony charge of ‘assault,’ according to court records, is based on the fact they allowed access to an unsecured weapon, which the mothers nine year old son subsequently brought to school. The weapon accidentally discharged and a female classmate was struck and almost killed.

    The Pierce County Prosecutors office appears to be charging ‘felony manslaughter’ in this incident.

    Before the “Chicken” or others start quoting meaningless theories and statistics or start to change the focus of this case by arguing “why where they out so late?” or “I always had my kid in bed by eight,” or “take away all guns” etc. etc. I would like to state these cases broken down “involve an individual(s) who were reckless with a firearm. I believe anyone in possession of a firearm should be held accountable for the use of their weapon, especially when a child gains access and a tragedy occurred.

    I although again question why during a third incident, involving a Marysville Police Officer, it appears no charges will be filed.

    I have difficulty understanding why two families can face criminal charges while an officer in a similar case who allowed “access to an unsecured weapon’ resulting in the tragic death of a child, appears to be above the law.

    The fact that one incident involves a law enforcement officer does not absolve him from responsibility. If we are to believe the law applies to everyone and “justice is truly blind,” the Law should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of power or weakness.

  4. If a cop’s child got a hold of a gun and killed someone, would the cop go to jail??

  5. The little guy is now an angel in heaven. God bless him.

  6. rawdibob says:

    I wonder how soon the President will be commenting about this killing of a 3-year old. Will how the child looks make a difference to the President?

  7. NewDragon says:

    The reason the pig in Marysville isn’t being charged is obvious! Blatin BS!

  8. troger888 says:

    wow I know the woman who is getting charged. How can they charge her with such a thing. The guy who owned the gun should be the one getting charged. She’s going through the worst possible pain right now. and what of that cop in that Van who didn’t have his gun locked up and his kid shot his self?

  9. You can point to the case in Marysville as a study in contrasts, but beyond that it is two different jurisdictions, different chains of command, different prosecutors, and so on. The fact that the officer in Marysville has not been charged but this couple may be charged does not make our law enforcement officials here hypocrites. On the flipside, a decision here to prosecute does not per se invalidate whatever decisions are being made in Marysville (their decisions can be questioned on their own merits/demerits, which are unrelated to events in Tacoma).

  10. itwasntmethistime says:

    I never read or heard how old the kid in the Marysville case was. I know the girl was 7, but how old was her brother who shot her?

  11. troger, it is obvious. She moved the gun, letting the toddler see it and then left the van with the gun there and the toddler unsecured walking around on the front seat. I know she is probably suffering but there are consequences for gross negligence that results in a death and that is what she must face.

  12. Tracianne says:

    The case in Marysville echos resemblance of the guy in Florida. If people can come together in masses to force this case to be looked at by the feds why not come out in masses and demand justice for the cop to be charged as the others are.

  13. benderbrodriguez says:

    Chippert – “There are consequences for gross negligence” is a very well put and accurate discription of the situation, I couldn’t agree more.

  14. Bunch of crap. It was a tragic accident. Charging them with a felony crime is nothing more than politics.

  15. Why do people try to dismiss things as “just an accident”, implying that if it is an accident, it is no one’s fault? In reality, accidental means that it was not an intentional act, but someone still caused it! In this case, it was indeed a tragic accident – one that was caused by the gross negligence of the couple and one that resulted in the death of a child. And trying to bring politics into this is what is really the “bunch of crap”.

  16. They both should be charged and I’m proud of our prosecutors for charging them. Why would any one have a gun around children? I don’t care about the fact he had a license to carry a conceiled weapon. He should have left it home or at least LOCKED it up in the trunk or glove compartment. I hope they both go to jail for ten years

  17. Don’t point to other bad behavior to justify this

  18. BlaineCGarver says:

    Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist today charged a mother and her male friend with second-degree manslaughter in the accidental shooting of a 3-year-old at a Tacoma gas station near the Tacoma Mall.

    How can you charge a felony for an “accident”? Sometimes, stuff happens…This is a slippery slope…is every parent of a tragic accident going to he criminally accountable?

  19. BlaineCGarver says:

    Gina’s hoplophobia is overriding her common sense…Please, projection of your personal fears onto others is not productive, especially since it concerns an Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

  20. Blaine, read the definition of “Manslaughter”. If it were not accidental the charge would be “Murder”. Get it? They were responsible for the accident that caused the death of this child.

  21. This is an all around tragic incident and living near the area where it happened brings it into total focus. Both these people are trying to find a way to justify this and really don’t need all this wasted debating by most who don’t have a clue. Pray you never find yourself in this situation and be thankful.

  22. The fact that the marysville police officer is not and will not be charged is a discrace to all people who are not police. I know cops are trained more on weapons so the punishment shoud be just as heavy if not heavier for the police. To serve and protect each other should be the saying for all police departments. It seems more and more they are becoming gangs, mobs, against there communities not taking care of them (killing innocent people). I am disappointed in what this nation is becoming. As far as living this nightmare we are. The police officer needs to be charged just like the other 2 families in these terrible tradegies.The main point here is if these peoples accident is a felony then the LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER should get the same punishment.Deal with losing a child behind bars!!!!!!

  23. one day in those peoples shoes and them post a judgmental comment on there business. Seriously!!!

  24. benderbrodriguez says:

    An “accident” is unavoidable. A shred of common sense and this could have been avoided. Therefore, not an accident.

  25. its too bad really, but if you decide to carry a gun you have to be responsible ESPECIALLY around children. these people were not and now they have to answer for it, sad!

  26. retiredssg says:

    Tracianne-how does an adult disregarding the advise of police to not take the problem in his own hands, getting a gun and aiming it compare to a 6 year old looking at the gun, not the direction it is pointed at when the gun goes off?

    Unless the kid was on steroids, there is no way a 6 year old has the strength to aim the gun and pull the trigger, or the mental capacity to decide that his 8 year old sister or one of the other kids in the car presents a threat to him and has to die.

  27. guiltybystander says:

    Second-degree manslaughter? Hmmm. Eric Vita and Jahnisha McIntosh blew it before this even happened: They should’ve been police officers in Marsville, where never is heard an incriminating word and no charges are filed any day.

  28. NineInchNachosII says:

    We have a better prosecutor than those hicks in Marysville

  29. I agree with the comment by “sesaylor” ; its a tragic accident. And now its politics.

  30. reformedliberal says:

    “You can point to the case in Marysville as a study in contrasts, but beyond that it is two different jurisdictions, different chains of command, different prosecutors, and so on.”

    Nonsense. It’s the same jurisdiction: State of Washington.

    The issue is that we have two sets of laws in this state. One for the cops, and one for the rest of us.

  31. NineInchNachosII says:


  32. I guess this case will keep lawyers earning an income. HUH?

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