After finding his dad’s handgun in the car’s glove box, a 2-year-old shot himself dead in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The toddler got a hold of the gun and shot himself fatally in the chest while alone inside the vehicle only momentarily.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Kaleb Ahles was inside his parents’ car while they were busy loading items from the house to the vehicle. The family was moving out of their home and went inside to get more things when the shooting occurred, Fox 13 reports.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office released a media statement explaining what happened.
“[Kaleb] had entered the vehicle at some point as the family was loading the vehicle to move out of the house.”
The family suddenly heard a “popping noise” from the car and rushed outside. They performed CPR on the 2-year-old, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Gualtieri told WLFA 8 News that it was a horrible, accidental tragedy.
“It’s just one of those things that happens where everything lined up the wrong way where we had a 2-and-a-half-year-old that was able to take a gun, pick it up, turn it around, and he shot himself dead center in the middle of the chest.”
Investigators have determined so far that the parents took “reasonable steps” in securing the weapon. The 2-year-old shot himself regardless of all precautions taken. Gualtieri can only describe it as “sometimes just bad things happen.”
“In a situation like this, where it looks like the gun was secured, they took reasonable steps, and you can lawfully keep a gun in a vehicle in a glove box. It was secured, it looks like in the glove box itself, and sometimes just bad things happen.”
Gualtieri adds that the parents won’t be charged with anything. He explains that no one “can punish these parents any more than what they’ve been punished” because it’s “something they will carry with them and live with the rest of their lives.”
The sheriff reveals that they’re certain the toddler pulled the trigger himself, since the shell casing wasn’t “completely ejected from the slide.” Gualtieri says that’s consistent with someone who has a weak wrist.
He says stories from family members have also been consistent about where the firearm was located and how the boy probably gained access to it. The sheriff says if the 2-year-old shot himself because the gun was out in the open, it would’ve been a different story altogether.
[Photo Credit: WFLA]