The uncle of a Gila Valley teen who was shot in the head at point-blank range may face charges involving misconduct with a deadly weapon.
According to police reports from the Graham County Sheriff's Office, Jesse Ray Cabrera, 18, was shot in the head with a .22 Ruger six-shot revolver by his uncle, Daniel Dario Orta, 18.
Authorities were dispatched to 1765 N. Robin Ave. at about 10:09 a.m. on Tuesday regarding a gunshot victim. The area is south of Pima off Cluff Ranch Road.
Pima Police Chief Diane Cauthen was the first to arrive and cleared the room for EMTs from Pima Rescue at about 10:24 a.m. Paramedics from Southwest Ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and prepped Cabrera to be airlifted to Tucson for treatment.
A helicopter from LifeNet 10 landed in the area at about 10:44 a.m. and transported Cabrera to The University of Arizona Medical Center-University Campus. After spending two days in the hospital's intensive care unit, he was well enough to be discharged.
Cabrera was conscious and was able to speak to officers while being prepared for transport. He said he and his uncle were playing with the gun and that Orta accidentally shot him.
Orta allegedly told deputies that he obtained the gun from his mother's dresser. He then went to another room in the house and retrieved five hollow-point .22 caliber bullets and loaded the weapon.
He said he was playing "shoot me" or "I bet you won't" with Cabrera and placed his right hand around the butt of the gun. He then pointed the gun at Cabrera's head and cocked the hammer with his left hand, according to his statements to deputies. He said the gun was about 6 inches from Cabrera's head when the hammer suddenly released and caused the gun to discharge.
The first rule of the National Rifle Association's fundamental rules for safe gun handling is to always keep a weapon pointed in a safe direction. "This is the primary rule of gun safety," the association states on its Web site. "A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage."
After firing the Ruger, Orta dropped it, applied pressure to Cabrera's head where the bullet struck and called 9-1-1. He said he didn't mean to shoot his nephew and was stupid for playing around with the gun in that fashion.
The revolver was found lying on the floor about two feet from Cabrera and was cleared by Cauthen. There was one spent cartridge and four live rounds in the Ruger. The police reports were sent to the Graham County Attorney's Office for review of possible charges. One deputy recommended charges of disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon and endangerment with a deadly weapon.