Crime

Illegal Immigrant Leaves Illegal Gun Where Kids Can Reach It; 8-year-old Shot in Face

An undocumented, armed Phoenix resident left his gun where kids could find it, and now an 8-year-old boy is fighting for his life after getting shot in the face, police say.

Police make Javier Gudino Cruz, 24, the boy's uncle, look like anything but a law-abiding, responsible, possessor of a firearm. Cruz can't legally own a firearm in Arizona because of his immigration status. Not only does he own a handgun, says a Phoenix PD news release, but he shot up his yard with it early Sunday morning after a night of drinking and fighting. Then Cruz left the gun on a wall in front of his house at 919 East Turney.

Just before 2 p.m. yesterday, a group of children ages 4 to 6 found the gun and shot the boy. No doubt, the little boys thought they were playing a game -- until the BOOM! and spray of blood and flesh.

Cruz, apparently still not thinking clearly, carried the wounded kid to his front yard and threw the handgun in a space between a wall of his house and a block wall, where, presumably, the kids might have found it again.

Right about then, someone phoned 911 and reported that a person had been injured after falling down stairs.

Cops accuse Cruz of illegally possessing a firearm, illegally discharging a firearm and child abuse.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.