Killeen father charged with manslaughter of daughter

Residents in a Killeen neighborhood are distraught over the death of a three-year-old girl.

Police say her father is the killer.

27-year-old Ashton Salvato sits in the Bell County Jail.

It was over the weekend when police say he shot three-year-old Cessa with an AR-15 rifle.

It is still unsure whether it was intentional or not.

Crystal Clawson and her two-year-old daughter live in a kid-friendly neighborhood.

Right next door was three-year-old Cessa Salvato, who was shot and killed Saturday afternoon.

We're told both little girls loved to do some of the same things.

"It's definitely a scary situation. They were so close in age; his daughter and my daughter. They actually played together once out here in the cul-de-sac riding bikes together. It's just a scary situation. You never think that something so close to home would happen like that," says Crystal Clawson, next door neighbor.

Killeen Police say they responded to the 3600 block of Del Mar Court around noon.

That's where they found Cessa with a gunshot wound.

She was taken to Metroplex Hospital where she later died.

"He seemed very emotional, pacing back-and-forth. He dropped down to the ground several times, grabbing his head and looking up to the sky. Just very distraught," says Clawson.

A roommate tells police that the victims' father, 27-year-old Ashton Salvato, was playing with an AR-15 rifle and shot his daughter.

In court documents, Salvato states he checked and did not see a round in the chamber before pulling the trigger.

"We try to get the word out as far as gun safety to everyone who owns a gun. We actually provide the safety gun locks here if anybody has any weapons and need some for free. They just have to come by to the desk officer and we give them one or two, it just depends on how many guns they have. So we do take every precautionary measure," says Ofelia Miramontez, PIO, Killeen Police Department.

Police say Salvato and his wife were separated.

It was his weekend to have Cessa.

Everyone who lives inside the home was questioned.

"Can't even imagine what that mother is going through right now. Not knowing it was the last time to see her child and dropped her off with her father," says Clawson.

Salvato has been arraigned and charged with manslaughter.

He is being held at the Bell County Jail on a one-million dollar bond.

"Everybody's just kind of scared and kind of on edge. Everybody's heard a million different stories and they're just trying to wait for the truth to come out, to see what really happened, that way everybody can kind of get closure on it," says Clawson

On Monday we went to the home where the shooting happened.

We saw some of the residents who live there but they did not wish to comment.

Police say during the investigation, it will be up to the district attorney to decide whether a higher charge should be filed.