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Father arrested in accidental shooting that injured Glendale girl

Eldon McInville (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — The father of a 6-year-old girl who was critically injured after police say he accidentally shot her on Thursday has been arrested.

Police said Eldon Mcinville, 26, acted in a “reckless and dangerous manner” when he tripped while carrying a shotgun that he was putting away after cleaning it.

The gun then discharged, striking the girl in the stomach.

The shooting occurred in the area of 75th and Glendale avenues around 2 p.m. Thursday.

Mcinville was arrested on charges of child abuse, causing serious physical injury and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon later that evening.

Court documents said Mcinville was cleaning the weapon for the first time after recently purchasing it and was teaching the girl gun safety. He told police he had never shot the weapon and researched loading it on Google and YouTube.

Mcinville said after he cleaned the gun, he half-cocked it so he could load live ammunition in it for storage and then slipped and fell when he got up to put it away. Mcinville said the safety was on at the time of the incident.

Mcinville told police that he kept weapons behind a shelf in a closet in his room, but said the room was typically locked as a safety measure. Detectives found at least three other weapons in the home, a .357 Magnum revolver, a 20-gauge double barrel shotgun and another shotgun.

Court documents said the revolver was loaded and on a TV stand in “close proximity where the victim could gain access to the weapon” and the 20-gauge shotgun had an expended round. The second shotgun was loaded and in the closet of the same room where the shooting occurred.

The girl was airlifted to a hospital, where she underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries that included a fractured pelvic bone and a large soft tissue defect.

Glendale Police Sgt. John Roth said Thursday she’s expected to survive. The girl is expected to remain in the hospital for months for surgeries to treat her injuries.

“All firearms should be safely carried and manipulated in an environment clear from others and stored in a secure manner that is out of reach of children,” Glendale police said in a statement.

“When carrying a firearm that is not holstered, fingers are to remain along the frame and away from the trigger with the firearm pointed in a safe direction such as straight down.”

Mcinville was ordered to pay a $50,000 cash bond. He will be held on electric monitoring until his next court appearance on May 2.

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