A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Thursday pleaded not guilty to putting a gun in his 8-year-old son’s backpack before dropping the child off with his mom.
Manuel Murillo, 37, of Ontario, who was off-duty at the time, allegedly put the loaded service weapon in the backpack of a child he is related to on April 11, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Then he dropped off the child with a caretaker, prosecutors said.
The caretaker noticed the gun about 25 minutes later and contacted Fullerton police, prosecutors said.
Murillo was charged June 6 with misdemeanor counts of child abuse and endangerment, storage of firearms accessed by children, and criminal storage of a firearm accessible to a child in the third degree.
Murillo was next due in court Aug. 23 for a pretrial hearing.
Murillo’s attorney, Michael D. Schwartz, said it was an “accident.”
The backpack and the deputy’s gym bag are dark and he put his service revolver and badge in the backpack by mistake, Schwartz said.
“The kid had no idea it was there,” Schwartz said.
When Murillo couldn’t find his gun and badge he quickly called his ex-wife and said he thinks he mixed up the bags, and she found it, Schwartz said.
Murillo has worked as a deputy for about a dozen years and “is a good employee with no problems in his background,” Schwartz said.