On Christmas morning, Veronica Rutledge of Blackfoot, Idaho, was shot dead by her 2-year-old toddler in Walmart.
Veronica, 29, and her husband were fans of guns and shooting. They often go hunting and practiced shooting guns in ranges. As a Christmas present, Veronica’s husband gave her a purse that has a special compartment for carrying a weapon.
The day after Christmas, Veronica used her new purse while shopping at Walmart in Hayden, Idaho, with her husband, their 2-year-old son, and other family members. They were at the electronics section of the store when the child somehow managed to reach into her mother’s purse. He pulled the trigger and shot her mother. Medics and the police rushed to the scene, but Veronica was found dead.
According to the Washington Post, Veronica and her husband had permits to carry concealed weapons. The family was visiting Terry Rutledge, Veronica’s father-in-law. Terry said that he saw Veronica’s new purse.
“It was designed for that purpose — to carry a concealed firearm. And you had to unzip a compartment to find the handgun.”
After the incident, the Walmart branch was closed for a day to allow forensic experts to inspect the scene, the Mirror U.K. reports. Walmart released a statement.
“A very sad incident occurred at our store today involving the death of a female customer. We are fully cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies as they investigate this matter.”
The Rutledge family was devastated about the accident. Terry spoke more about the incident.
“An inquisitive 2-year-old boy reached into the purse, unzipped the compartment, found the gun and shot his mother in the head. It’s a terrible, terrible incident.”
Terry also said that his son is not taking the loss of his wife too well.
“My son is terrible. He has a 2-year-old boy right now who doesn’t know where his mom is and he’ll have to explain why his mom isn’t coming home. And then, later on his life, as he questions it more, he’ll again have to explain what happened, so we’ll have to relive this several times over.”
Terry said that what happened made him angry at the people who are taking advantage of the situation to proclaim their stand regarding gun rights.
“They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case.”
He said that he brought up his son around guns. Veronica and her husband also took gun classes, so they know how to handle them properly. He also explained that the purse Veronica was carrying was not just any other purse. It was a special purse intended to keep a weapon.
“They carried one every day of their lives, and they shot extensively. They loved it. Odd as it may sound, we are gun people.”
[Images via ABC News/NY Daily News]