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Toddler Shoots Self in Hand; Mother’s Boyfriend Arrested

A Palm Beach Gardens man was arrested Thursday, after his girlfriend’s toddler apparently got a hold of the man’s gun and shot himself.

The 3-year-old’s mother told investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office that she heard a loud bang late Wednesday and ran into the bedroom, where she found the toddler with a bloodied hand while he was standing next to the weapon.

Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Juan Gomes Quintero, told investigators he was cleaning the .40-caliber Springfield in his bedroom at the home near West Palm Beach and left it loaded in his nightstand.

Investigators concluded the child must have pulled the gun from the drawer and fired a bullet through two of his fingers.

They subsequently arrested Gomes Quintero, who has a Palm Beach Gardens address, on charges of culpable negligence, unsafe storage of a firearm and tampering with evidence.

A judge ordered that he remain jailed in lieu of $12,000 bail. In addition, he is not allowed to have contact with the child or the child’s mother.

The boy’s mother, who works in nursing, told investigators that she carried her son to the bathroom, where she cleaned and wrapped up his fingers.

She then took the child to Palms West Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The mother later called Gomes Quintero to tell him what happened, as he was not in the home when the incident happened. He allegedly told her that he went to the house and grabbed the gun, along with a mirror that had a bullet hole in it.

He said that he threw the mirror behind the home, and then left the gun, his wallet, and two cellphones in the car that he had crashed earlier that day near Haverhill Park.

Gomes Quintero said he bought the semi-automatic pistol about a month ago and typically kept it in the bedroom closet.