3 Arrested Including Parents in 4-Year-Old’s Death

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Three people, including the parents of a four-year-old boy, remain behind bars in connection with his death.  Michael Mendoza was shot to death at his home Tuesday on Cindy Lane.  Authorities say Michael and his sister found a gun, and it went off, killing the boy.

Gaston County Police arrested Michael’s mother, Savannah Brehm, his father, Hector Mendoza Saucedo, and Michael’s uncle, Keith Sturghill.  They’re all facing involuntary manslaughter and negligent child abuse.  In court, the prosecutor told the judge all three suspects failed to secure the gun.

“Mr. Sturghill had left a firearm, a handgun, with no safety on it with one round in the chamber on the coffee table of the residence,” the prosecutor said.

Michael’s mother attempted to defend her actions to the judge.

“I thought he put it up when he was leaving for work he said he was gonna put it up, I thought he did, so I went back in my room,” says Savannah Brehm.

Mendoza’s parents remain behind bars on 250-thousand dollars bond each.  The judge set Sturghill’s bond at 400-thousand dollars.

GASTON CO., N.C. — First responders were called at 4:22 p.m. on Tuesday to the Twin Oaks Mobile Home park in Gastonia where they found a child with a gunshot wound.

Police said they took life-saving measures, but medics declared the child deceased at the scene.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives determined the child’s mother, father, and another relative living in the residence failed to properly secure a firearm.

The child and one of his siblings found the firearm. While in possession,  the gun discharged one time, striking the victim, resulting in the child’s death.

Savannah Brehm, Hector Mendoza and Keith Sturghill were arrested.

They have been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse and the misdemeanor charge of storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.

This is an on-going investigation. The Gaston County Police encourages anyone with information related to this case to contact Detective H. King at 704-866-3320 or Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000.