Police are still investigating how a toddler managed to shoot his grandmother with a loaded.357 revolver during a car ride on Sunday. Although details of the shooting are still being sorted out, reportedly the 2-year-old started fiddling with a gun that was left unattended, passing it from hand to hand, then pointed it forward and — with the recklessness of a child— pulled the trigger.
According to a report from The Herald, the shooting happened Sunday afternoon in Rock Hill, South Carolina. At the time of the shooting, the toddler was riding in the car with his grandmother and great-aunt who was driving, when he spotted a pouch behind the passenger seat. Although the child was sitting in the back seat and was secured with a seat-belt, he managed to stretch out and grab the gun out of the pouch. In less than no time, he started to play with the loaded.357 revolver.
NBC News reports that the toddler pointed the gun at his grandmother and accidentally opened fire, hitting the woman in the back. Upon hearing the gun shot, the great-aunt, owner of the weapon, stopped the car immediately and when she turned around, she saw the child tightly gripping the gun with both hands in a sea of tears.
“Shock is not the word– beyond shock. The sound was so muffled it sounded like a firecracker outside, and the bullet never exited my sister,” the woman, who did not want to be named, told reporters.”He is infatuated with guns. I didn’t know that. I wasn’t thinking. For those of you with children, before you get into a car ask if they have a gun. Make sure you are getting into a safe car.”
The victim was rushed to the hospital and was admitted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte with non-life threatening injuries. Thankfully, the bullet missed the 40-year-old’s vital organs and she is expected to make a full recovery. Speaking with reporters, the woman’s sister says her experience should teach others a lesson.
“I wasn’t thinking. For those of you with children, before you get into a car ask if they have a gun. Make sure you are getting into a safe car,” she expressed.”My sister could’ve died.”
Capt. Mark Bollinger, spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department, said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and detectives are “still trying to figure out how the child pulled the trigger.”
“We’re encouraging folks, as always, to keep your weapons secured,” Bollinger said. “Especially around small children.”
Although Bollinger said no charges have been filed as of yet, the gun owner could possibly face charges related to gun law violations because of where the weapon was kept in the car.
“There could be some child neglect or some unlawful conduct towards a child charges based on the age of the child and leaving the gun within reaching distance of a young minor,” he said.
Unfortunately, shootings carried out by children are not rare in the U.S., and this is just the latest case where a unattended weapon ended up in the hands of a child. Just to mention a few episodes, two weeks ago an 11-year-old boy was accused of killing his 8-year-old neighbor in White Pine, Tennessee, after a dispute over a puppy. In September, another 11-year-old boy fatally shot a 16-year-old boy who had snuck into his house.
[Image via Bruno Vincent/Getty Images News]