HOUSTON—A father who is accused of leaving his two kids in a car while he shopped at a gun store in Katy told KHOU he made a mistake, and he wants his kids back.
"I regret it obviously. I feel bad about it. I didn’t do it on purpose. Now, we’re trying to move forward," said Gage Eason.
Eason, 21, and his wife, Hailie Eason, 21, met with KHOU after a supervised visit with their children Monday morning.
Child Protective Services removed their children, 6-month-old Cameron and 18-month-old Ember, from the Easons' home following what happened inside Tactical Firearms on March 24, 2012.
Cameras from the store’s surveillance system captured Eason looking at guns inside the store for nearly 50 minutes while his two children sat in their car seats in his van in the parking lot.
By time Eason left the store, someone had noticed the children and called 911.
"People make mistakes every day. Mine just happened to be shown on camera. It wasn’t intentional," Eason told KHOU News. "I love my kids and there’s nothing more important than my kids."
Eason said he lost track of time.
"I have a hard time judging time sometimes, and I didn’t feel like I was there for that long, so I was actually shocked I was there for that long," he said.
Eason and his family moved to Katy three weeks earlier for his wife’s job.
Hailie Eason was at work when the kids were discovered in the hot van. She told KHOU News as soon as she learned what happened, she found a ride and rushed to the gun store.
It wasn’t two hours, like had previously been reported.
"Yeah, I’m mad, why wouldn’t I be," Hailie Eason told KHOU News. "My kids have been ripped from me."
But the 21-year-old mother stands by the father of her children and says this is out of character for her husband.
"I don’t like people out there calling him the worst father in America. I don’t like people out there saying like we need to have our kids taken away and adopted out -- it’s not fair," said the mother. "The world needs to know that he’s not a bad parent, we’re not bad parents, and our kids deserve to be with us."
One of the Easons' attorneys addressed rumors that have circulated on the Internet.
"He is not part of some Texas militia. His life is not buying and selling guns. He was there looking at guns. He made the mistake of leaving his kids in the car in no way should the family be torn apart," said James Hedlesten.
A CPS hearing is set for Wednesday. At that time, the Easons could get their kids back.
Criminal charges have not been filed, but the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is investigating.
"I don’t think there should be criminal charges. There was nothing maliciously done here. There was nothing so outrageous that this father should be ripped from the family, the father put in jail and the family broken up," said their attorney Julie Ketterman.
The Easons are expecting their third child. Hailie Eason is five weeks pregnant.