Charges filed against gun owner Todd Francis in Scripps Ranch boy's shooting death

SAN DIEGO - A Scripps Ranch man whose pistol discharged and mortally wounded a neighbor boy as the fourth-grader played with the weapon two weeks ago was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter and other counts.

Todd Conrad Francis turned himself in to San Diego police Tuesday afternoon in connection with the death of 10-year-old Eric Klyaz, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

Francis, 55, posted $100,000 bail and was released about 1:30 Wednesday morning, according to a jail clerk.

Arraignment was set for June 25.

Late on the afternoon of June 4, Eric was handling the 9-mm gun in a garage at a condominium complex in the 10900 block of Ivy Hill Drive along with Francis' 9-year-old daughter when it went off.

The Dingeman Elementary School student suffered a bullet wound to the chest and died at Rady Children's Hospital a short time later, homicide Lt. Jorge Duran said. The other child, whose older brother was babysitting her at the time of the shooting, was unharmed.

In addition to the manslaughter charge, Francis is charged with child endangerment and negligent storage of a firearm. He faces up to seven years and eight months in prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney's Office.

An attorney representing the defendant told news crews that her client had kept the gun unloaded in an inaccessible part of the garage, with the ammunition clip secured in a separate spot.

Neighbors are still shocked and disturbed by the shooting. Michelle Rhea told 10News, “We're still very shaken up and grief-stricken over a very good friend and playmate for my kids. There's a lot of questions in our minds. I would assume anger will be coming out. We just hope justice is served for the child’s life that’s been lost."

Annie Kim told of her disbelief.

“Oh no, we had no idea because obviously there's so many kids playing there," she said. "Who'd have thought there's a gun in there, actually? Not even a toy gun, never!”

Betty Garcia said, “Just a heartbreaking event for all of us and the fact that the man is turning himself in ... I'm glad he did that.”


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