Accidental shootings never take a holiday. Another one occurred Monday evening in Auburn, Alabama, claiming the life of a 10-year-old boy.
According to a report in the local Opelika-Auburn News, a 10-year-old boy was in a bedroom of a residence on the 13000 block of the Auburn community of Beauregard, with his 12-year-old brother and a friend, another boy, 14.
Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told the paper that the boys were playing with a gun when it suddenly went off. The 10-year-old was shot in the head and died instantly, Harris said.
The boy’s mother was in the kitchen of the house at the time of the shooting, as was a fourth boy. Because they are all juveniles, the name of the 10-year-old victim, his brother, and friend are not being released.
The accidental shooting took place at 7:05 pm on Monday, December 30. The 10-year-old was pronounced dead just 35 minutes later.
“The death is being treated as an accident at this time and there is no indication that it is anything other than a tragic accident,” said Harris.
There are no reliable statistics on accidental shootings in the United States, because there is no national database kept on firearm deaths, accidental or otherwise. In 2010, the Center For Disease Control said that the total number of firearm deaths in the country was 31,672, or 10.3 gun deaths for every 100,000 members of the U.S. population.
A recent investigation by The New York Times, using data from eight states that provided records to the paper, found that accidental gun deaths of children were about twice as frequent as such records indicate. The reason is that accidental shootings are often not classified as accidents, but as homicides or as some other type of event.
The accidental killing of the 10-year-old Auburn boy was only one of several accidental shootings to take place around the country in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. As compiled by writer David Waldman on the Daily Kos web site, the other incidents included:
• A Deltona, Florida man who was killed in his backyard on Christmas day when he was struck in the chest by what police believe was a stray bullet. Investigators think the shot was fired by a neighbor who built a shooting range in his own backyard.
• A 20-year-old Lake Charles, Louisiana man who accidentally shot and killed himself while working on his truck and handling a gun at 9 am the day after Christmas.
• Also on December 26, a 24-year-old man in Fort Worth, Texas pulled out a handgun that he said was not, he believed, loaded. But it was. The man accidentally shot a 14-year-old boy above the left eye, killing him.
• Another 14-year-old boy was killed in an accidental shooting the same day in Swifton, Arkansas. Police found him shot in the face, apparently by mistake.
• On December 27, an Egnar, Colorado man, Trenton Sutherland, 28, died while hunting for coyotes with two friends. One of the other hunters reportedly misidentified “something” as a coyote, with the result being that Sutherland was shot dead.
That is just a small sample of the accidental shooting incidents that occurred in the past week.