By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — It was a gunshot meant to ring in the new year, but instead it left a Sacramento County man in jail for the death of his girlfriend, sheriff’s deputies said on Thursday.

Stephen Lucas, 24 was arrested after they say he fired a gun during a midnight New Year’s celebration that somehow hit his girlfriend. She died 20 hours into the new year.

READ MORE: Getting Answers: What's The Deal With The Current COVID Variants?

He now faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter, among other felony charges.

A Christmas wreath hangs on the family’s front door, and someone has made a makeshift peace sign outside of their apartment. Also outside are evidence markings of blood and police tape that serve as reminders of how the year started at this apartment complex.

Neighbors were left in shock over what happened early Thursday morning.

READ MORE: City Of Lathrop Officially Opens New Police Department

“We’re absolutely brokenhearted over it, and we believe it was a tragic accident,” said Wayne Daniels. “She’s just a young girl, 23 years old, and he’s 24.”

The couple has a toddler together that neighbors say was at home when the gunshot went off.

“She’s old enough to comprehend what happened because she’s old enough to walk and talk. She can comprehend what’s going on,” Stan Daniels said.

MORE NEWS: Multiple Crews Respond To Fire In American River Parkway

A young family torn apart in a moment that deputies believe was meant to be in celebration of a new year. Instead, it’s left a mother dead, and the man who loved her is facing a painful burden of responsibility.