AUSTIN, Texas – A construction worker accused of fatally shooting a 7-year-old boy bouncing on a nearby trampoline told officers he was firing at a wooden target and had no idea anyone had been hurt.
Jose Barrera Espitia, 37, lives two houses away from the where the boy was playing with his cousins Tuesday. He was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the boy's shooting and remained jailed Thursday on $275,000 bond.
First-grader Daniel Galicia died less than an hour after he was shot in the back in rural Hays County, 25 miles south of Austin.
Hays County allows people to fire weapons in their yards, but the sheriff's department said this case was reckless. "Houses in this area are pretty close together, and if you are shooting the wrong direction, something can happen," spokesman Leroy Opiela said.
Espitia told police he couldn't see the boy from his yard and thought all his shots had hit his wooden target.
His 16-year-old daughter, Fernanda, said her father was crushed when he learned the boy had been shot. It was an accident, she said. "My dad would never do anything like that."