KENNEWICK — A 4-year-old Othello boy was waiting for his father to pick him up from his mother’s house just before he was accidentally shot Saturday.
Miah, short for Jeremiah, was peeking out the front window that morning, excitedly watching for his dad, Felipe Tapia-Perez, 26, to pull up in front.
Minutes later, Tapia-Perez told police, the boy was standing outside the passenger door when the gun went off, wounding Miah in the head.
Now family members are asking for help for the boy’s mother, who must pay to bury her son while raising three other children.
The organizer of the GoFundMe campaign, Angelica Moreno, said Miah, who suffered from a medical condition requiring a feeding tube, was loved by everyone who knew him.
“His loss was so sudden but his short time with us was filled with so much love and hope,” she posted. “Miah was a little fighter from day one. He never let his medical conditions hold him back.”
The fundraiser will help his mother pay for medical and funeral expenses, Moreno said.
“This tragedy has made her not only a grieving mother, but a single mother of three,” Moreno wrote. “Losing a child is a terrible heartbreak no parent should ever have to go through and unfortunately this has become his mom’s reality.”
Tapia-Perez remains in the Adams County jail on a 72-hour hold for investigation of second-degree manslaughter, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of an illegal firearm.
Tapia-Perez said he bought the gun from someone in Moses Lake the day before the shooting, Othello Detective Jaime Mendoza wrote in court documents.
Tapia-Perez bought it for protection, but knew he wasn’t allowed to own a gun, according to court records. He said he didn’t know it had been stolen, court records say.
“Felipe stated that he never asked the man where he had gotten the gun from, he only asked how much he wanted for the gun,” according to court records.
He brought the gun along with him when he went to pick up Jeremiah and their other children for the weekend.
He told Mendoza he was holding the gun when he touched a lever on the side of the .22 caliber Colt Woodman, police say.
The magazine was out of the gun and in the center console, but a bullet in the chamber fired and hit his son, who was standing outside the passenger door, according to police.
The parents rushed the boy to Othello Community Hospital. Later, he was flown by air ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. It’s unclear whether he reached the second hospital before dying.