Man charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangerment in 3-year-old boy’s shooting death

Apr 7, 2024, 8:53 AM

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — An eastern Pennsylvania man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 3-year-old boy who authorities say shot himself with a handgun left unattended last month.

Jose Hilario Abreu, 28, of Allentown was arraigned Friday on the charge as well as two counts of child endangerment in the March 28 death of Elijah Abreu Borgen. Prosecutors said the child was rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest but died of a gunshot wound to the torso; his death was ruled accidental.

Lehigh County prosecutors accuse Abreu of leaving the semi-automatic handgun unattended and fully loaded with a live cartridge in the chamber while the victim and a 2-year-old child were present.

Prosecutors allege that Abreu said he placed the gun under the sofa the two toddlers were sitting on and left the room, then heard a loud bang and returned to find Elijah with a gunshot wound to the chest. Prosecutors said that when the gun discharged, it “was unholstered and resting atop of a pillow on the couch where both toddlers were sitting.”

Prosecutors said a rapid gunshot residue test performed after the child’s death yielded a “presumptive positive indication” of gunshot residue on his hands.

Abreu was taken to Lehigh County jail pending arraignment scheduled for Friday; court documents indicate that he is being represented by the county public defender’s office, which could not be reached for comment over the weekend.

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