Child with Autism Accidentally Shoots Brother


A bizarre and tragic story has emerged out of Houston this week, where a 7-year-old child with autism accidentally shot and killed his 5-year-old brother after they were left alone in a motel room.

The boys’ father, Vincent Del Sol, was said to be paying the room’s bill when the older child shot his younger brother in the torso with a shotgun. The dad returned to the room to the horrifying scene and paramedics arrived shortly thereafter, but it was too late.

The family had been living in the Houston-area Motel 6 for a year after a move from California, due to the father’s ongoing search for employment. Del Sol told police he was planning to pawn his gun and some power tools to help make ends meet.

In another twist to this story, Child Protective Services (CPS) on Wednesday was granted temporary custody of the 7-year-old after a hearing was held in which the father did not show up for. The boy’s mother is currently in jail after being arrested last month on a probation violation charge stemming from a child endangerment incident several years ago, when the boy was found wandering alone near an interstate highway.

Investigators said the shooting was an accident, but the district attorney’s office is still deciding on whether or not the father will face any charges.

This story is very fluid and there are conflicting versions of events being reported. One thing is for certain: this family needed help. CPS was said to be previously involved in their lives, but it’s unclear how they managed to fall through the cracks.

Raising a child with autism is difficult enough with an intact, functional family unit. When other factors are involved, such as irresponsible parenting or unstable environments, the results can often lead to tragic and disastrous consequences.

Respite care for families of children with autism has been a growing need and such services would go a long way in preventing these types of tragedies in the future. More to come on this important issue.

2 Responses to Child with Autism Accidentally Shoots Brother

  1. Brian says:

    Only in Texas. What did you think would happen when you leave small children alone with access to a shotgun? This kind of tragedy happens all the time in homes where kids have access to guns. Autism had nothing to do with it but that’s such a hot topic the media can sell so it’s OK if they’re committing the correlation fallacy.

  2. Lyla says:

    Other articles report the gun was in a vehicle – not in the room.
    It is entirely possible that the father thought it was safe there, maybe he was delayed in hotel office, etc.
    Living poor is hard enough – add a child with Autism & your wife arrested (other articles elude that her probation was due to her son running away at 4yo, which also seems related).
    Brian – I think you are mistaken. The news is not making the “Autism Connection” strong enough.

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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