As seen in the above booking photo from the Maricopa County Sheriff, 28-year-old Wendy Lavarnia is shown. Wendy is making news due to her arrest, along with her husband, 31-year-old Kansas Lavarnia, who can be seen in photos below. Police in Phoenix arrested Lavarnia and her husband, with Kansas being arrested for a weapons violation. Wendy was arrested because the couple’s 9-year-old son was shot by the couple’s 2-year-old son. The 9-year-old boy is currently on life support.
According to authorities, Wendy put a loaded gun near enough to her two young boys long enough for the 2-year-old to grab the gun and shoot his 9-year-old brother with the gun. Lavarnia said she had turned around to get the gun’s holster when the 2-year-old shot the 9-year-old. That action led to the arrest of Wendy on suspicion of four counts of child abuse. Wendy was arrested due to endangering her children, according to AZfamily.com. The tragic shooting happened in Phoenix near 35th Avenue and Cactus. Originally, police had reported that the 9-year-old boy had died from his injuries, but he was actually still on life support as of Tuesday morning.
The Arizona parents were arrested, according to KTLA, because Sgt. Vince Lews of the Phoenix Police Department said that Wendy put her children in danger by placing a loaded gun where the children could reach the gun. Meanwhile, her husband, Kansas was arrested on the weapons violation charge because Kansas is a convicted felon.
The Superior Court of Maricopa County posted a video of Wendy’s initial court appearance. Wendy’s bond was set for $25,000 and came with certain conditions that disallowed her from being in contact with any victims or her children unless visitation is allowed by children’s services. Wendy can possess no weapons and no drugs without a valid prescription. Wendy asked if she would be able to go to the hospital and check on the condition of her son, and the female judge told Wendy that she would have to post bail and to see a bail bondsmen to do so first in order to be released to see her son in the hospital. Wendy gave her birthday as June 30, 1988, in the video showing her first court appearance.
Meanwhile, folks are already asking if the mother should face charges in the shooting of her 9-year-old son, as reported by AZCentral.com. The controversy surrounding Wendy and Kansas is due to the fact that Lavarnia, 31, was a convicted felon, according to the publication, and should not have had a gun in the household to begin with. The fact that Wendy was home with two of her four children in the room, close enough for the 2-year-old to shoot the 9-year-old boy, according to 12News.com, makes the mother responsible for putting the children in danger, according to some folks reacting to the story online.
The most shocking part of the shooting of the 9-year-old boy, as reported by KTAR.com, is that Wendy had previously taught her 2-year-old son to pull the trigger of a gun, but the gun was unloaded at the time. However, with a loaded gun placed in the 2-year-old’s reach, he was able to use what he learned to shoot his brother around 3 p.m. on Thursday, leaving the 9-year-old in critical condition.
Kansas faces charges of being a “prohibited possessor with a gun in the home.” The Lavarnias also had drugs inside their home, according to authorities.
Reactions are pouring in on Facebook about the Lavarnia case, with articles about the case behind shared more than 100 times. Plenty of sympathy for the victim is being displayed online, along with advice for parents to keep their guns locked in gun safes and away from children.