US Mother, Boyfriend Face Charges After Toddler Shoots Infant

Shayanne Nelson, left, and Tyrell Bitsilly on Saturday following their arrest. Photo: Associated Press
Shayanne Nelson, left, and Tyrell Bitsilly on Saturday following their arrest. Photo: Associated Press

GALLUP, New Mexico — An 8-month-old girl is fighting for her life after police say her 3-year-old brother accidentally shot her in the face in a New Mexico motel room while their mother and her boyfriend were in a shower.

The infant girl is listed in critical condition and her condition has not changed since she was found by police after she was shot Saturday in Gallup, New Mexico, Gallup Police Capt. Marinda Spencer said.

According to a criminal complaint, Shayanne Nelson, 18, and her boyfriend, Tyrell Bitsilly, 21, were in a motel shower when Nelson’s child found a gun and accidentally shot the baby.

Officers arrived at the hotel along the historic Route 66 to find an adult holding a baby with a gunshot wound to her face, the complaint filed Monday said.

Nelson told police she didn’t know a gun was in the room and that it may have been left by a previous occupant, the complaint said. She told officers her son likely found the gun and decided to play with it, the complaint said.

Police said no other adults were in the room when the pair went to take a shower.

A witness told police he saw Bitsilly wipe the gun after the shooting.

The baby was taken to Gallup Indian Medical Center.

Nelson and Bitsilly face child abuse charges and were booked into the McKinley County Adult Detention Center. Bitsilly also was charged with tampering with evidence. Court records show Nelson was released on a USD$5,000 unsecured bond. Bitsilly was ordered held on a $70,000 bond.

It was not known if either is represented by an attorney.

Gallup, New Mexico, is located 140 miles (225 kilometers)west of Albuquerque and borders the Navajo Nation near the Arizona border.