Warrant revealing more in Fresno girl, 6, shooting death

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News has obtained a search warrant revealing the gun used by the little boy wasn't the only loaded and unlocked weapon in the house.

Emily Lavender died nearly two weeks ago and a criminal investigation continues. Nobody has been arrested in the case, but the girl's stepfather has hired an attorney.

The search warrant shows that police officers collected 53 guns from the house where Emily was killed. Most of them were locked up, but several were not, and two unlocked handguns were loaded -- including the one the toddler fired at his half-sister.

The tragedy that unfolded inside the Northeast Fresno house is summed up in two short pages of a search warrant obtained by Action News. It says Emily Lavender was shot in the chest by her 2-year-old half brother on a Sunday morning as Emily's stepfather, Jarred Dubois, watched TV. The boy used a .45 caliber, Springfield semi-automatic handgun.

Dubois told police the gun was normally stored -- unlocked and loaded -- under a bed in the master bedroom.

Defense attorney Marshall Hodgkins says that could lead to trouble for Dubois. "There seems to be evidence that guns were left in places that terribly young children could easily get to them and frankly could be expected to try to get to them," he said.

Police say Dubois admitted to keeping another unlocked and loaded weapon in the house. And they found a few other unlocked guns, unloaded but with ammunition nearby.

The district attorney's office is reviewing the case and Dubois has hired attorney Mark Coleman. Coleman tells Action News his client kept a lot of weapons around because he trained Sea Scouts in shooting. Those are teens who learn the skills required to join the Navy.

Coleman says he realizes it's a criminal investigation, but says Dubois has already suffered enough punishment in losing his stepdaughter.

Hodgkins says prosecutors will be very cautious, but predicts they will file charges. "This is not necessarily a bad person, but he did something that is unacceptable in a society like this and there have to be consequences," he said.

The warrant also reveals that Emily's two sisters, a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old, were in the room when the little boy fired the gun.

Attorney Ralph Torres told Action News both Dubois and his wife, Emily's mom, could face charges up to murder, although child endangerment is more likely.

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