The parents of the 2-year-old Vacaville girl who was killed accidentally by her brother as he played with a gun at the family’s home in September have pleaded not guilty to child abuse and weapons charges.Michael Shanahan, 28, and Daniela Shanahan, 27, entered the pleas Monday in Solano County Superior Court. The Shanahans are charged with one count of first-degree criminal storage of a firearm and two counts of felony child abuse or endangering the health of a child, Deputy District Attorney Jeff Kauffman said. The child abuse or endangerment charges apply to both their daughter Ayana and her 8-year-old brother. The charges also include a special allegation of causing injury resulting in death. Daniela Shanahan also is charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun and being a felon in possession of ammunition. Vacaville police said she has a felony conviction in Napa County for driving under the influence.The Shanahans posted bail and are out of custody.Their daughter, Ayana, was shot at about 2:10 p.m. on Sept. 23 while her 8-year-old brother was playing unsupervised with a 9mm handgun in the parents’ bedroom at the family’s home on Syracuse Circle in Vacaville. She was taken to VacaValley Hospital where she was pronounced dead.The gun belonged to Michael Shanahan, a member of the Army Reserve, police said.Daniela Shanahan’s attorney, Monte Hansen, said this morning that he and Anthony Finkas, the attorney for Michael Shanahan, are hopeful the case will be settled before a trial.”We will try to resolve this case with the district attorney’s office,” Hansen said. “This is a horrible tragedy. Our goal is to work on rehabilitation for the entire family and get them counseling and help.” “This is not one of those clear-cut cases where a loaded gun was left out on a table,” he said. “They took reasonable steps to protect their children. There was a gun safe with other weapons.”Citing police reports he has reviewed, Hansen said the small revolver was in a locked gun case but the “bicycle-type” lock enabled the lid of the gun case to be lifted enough so a that a child could reach inside and remove the weapon.”There was a magazine in the gun case or on the headboard. The boy was reasonably familiar with guns and he got it loaded,” Hansen said. “I suspect he slipped a magazine in. They found a magazine in the gun,” Hansen said.”He was taught not to handle it but this is a case where boys will be boys,” Hansen said.Ayana came into the master bedroom to play after the gun was removed from the case and she was shot once in the forehead, Hansen said.The boy was placed in protective custody after the shooting and is living with his grandfather, Hansen said.Police said an investigation showed the home was an unsafe environment for the children because it contained unsecured weapons. There also was a .40-caliber handgun, a legal assault rifle and other weapons that did not function, Vacaville police Sgt. Jeff King said in September.”Another concern of the criminal investigation was the overall condition of the home, which was unkempt and dirty,” King said in a police news release.The charge of first-degree criminal storage of a firearm is punishable by a prison term of up to three years and/or a $10,000 fine.The felony child abuse or neglect carries a one-year county jail term or a state prison term of up to six years.The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a one-year county jail term and/or a $1,000 fine. The Shanahans will return to court on Dec. 8 for the setting of a date for their preliminary hearing.
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