Texas 4-year-old finds, fires AK-47 after parents argue, dad stabs family cat to death

A Texas man is accused of killing his family’s pet cat and threatening to kill his girlfriend during a domestic disturbance in which the couple’s 4-year-old son found an AK-47 rifle and fired it, police said.

Mario Eduardo Salinas, 27, of Galveston, is charged with animal cruelty, making a terroristic threat to a family member and tampering with physical evidence, according to Galveston County Jail records.

The Galveston Daily News reported that police officers were called around 8 a.m. Sept. 10 by Salinas' girlfriend, who told investigators Salinas had threatened to kill her and the family's pets, which also included a dog, and take the couple's two children. A criminal complaint obtained by the newspaper said Salinas found out the victim wanted to leave him.

He threatened to chop her up and kill the animals, the complaint said.

The woman, afraid to go home, called the report in from work, the Daily News reported. Salinas was at the couple's home with the children and the animals at that time, police investigators said.

Around 9:45 a.m., police received a call about a gunshot that came from inside the home where the couple and their children live. No one was home when officers responded to the home.

Salinas showed up a short time later, with blood on his clothes and boots, the Daily News reported.

He told the officers his son had found the AK-47 and fired it, killing Snowflake, the family’s cat, the police complaint said. A family friend who was at the house when the cat died, however, told investigators that Salinas had stabbed the cat and threw the animal’s body away in an alley.

When the cat’s body was found by animal control officers two days later, a veterinarian who examined the feline found 12 stab wounds, police officials said.

Investigators said in the criminal complaint that Salinas got several guns out of a safe and placed them on a bed during the argument with his girlfriend. The guns were left out after she left for work.

The couple's son later climbed onto the bed and fired the loaded rifle, sending a bullet through a dresser and out the back wall of the home, the Daily News reported. No one was injured by the gunshot.

Police and Texas Child Protective Services workers were still investigating the incident Friday, the newspaper reported.

Salinas remained in custody Tuesday. His bail had been set at $47,500, but jail records showed he was also being held on an emergency protective order.

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