General Crime

* East Palo Alto Man Sergio Sanchez, 34, Pleads No Contest And Sentenced To 16 Months For Gun That 12-Year-Old Used To Kill 2-Year-Old

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A 34-year-old man pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court today to illegally storing a firearm a 12-year-old boy used to accidentally kill a toddler in East Palo Alto earlier this year.Sergio Sanchez, 34, was sentenced to 16 months in state prison today as well. He had faced up to three years in prison, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.In exchange for pleading no contest to one count of illegal storing of a firearm, which is a felony, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office dropped the alternative count of possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, Wagstaffe said. Sanchez, a friend of the toddler’s family, had allegedly left a .22-caliber rifle in his room before going to work Jan. 8. The 12-year-old boy, believing the gun was a toy, grabbed the rifle and pointed it at the 2-year-old boy playing in the room with his mother, according to Wagstaffe.The 12-year-old then pulled the trigger and the gun fired, killing the toddler, Wagstaffe said.The boy who fired the gun was questioned after the shooting and released to Child Protective Services, according to police.Sanchez has been in custody ever since he turned himself in to police the day after the shooting. With credit for good behavior and time served, Sanchez will likely spend between five and nine months in prison, Wagstaffe said. “It’s an excellent outcome,” Wagstaffe said. “(Sanchez) was very remorseful for what happened. But nevertheless by his negligence and leaving his gun where a child could get it,another child is dead. And that does require an appropriate punishment.”

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