Indianapolis Toddler, Kiyan Shelton, 2, Kills Self With Mom’s Handgun

A 2-year-old Indianapolis toddler, Kiyan Shelton, died on Wednesday after he shot himself with his mom’s handgun.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Kiyan’s mother stepped away for just a moment, leaving her son briefly unattended. During that time, Kiyan climbed onto the kitchen counter in his Indianapolis home and retrieved the handgun from his mother’s purse. At approximately 9:00 p.m., Kiyan shot himself.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the officers found the toddler with a single gunshot wound when they arrived at the home. He was transferred to the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health where he later succumbed to his injuries.

According to the police, Kiyan and his mother were the only people at home at the time of the shooting. They added that the toddler’s mother is fully cooperating with the authorities, and had a valid permit for her .380 Bersa semi-automatic pistol.

Although Kiyan shot himself with his mom’s handgun, the case currently remains under investigation by the homicide detectives, and is categorized as a death investigation.

“Upon completion of their investigation, they will present their findings for a charging decision. The mother fully cooperated with the investigation and was released last night,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Richard Riddle said on Thursday. “At this point, this appears to be a tragic accident, but the (Marion County Prosecutor’s Office) will have final decision making on whether there were any criminal culpability in this incident.”

According to an October, 2015, report from the Washington Post, accidental shootings by toddlers and kids are far too common. In 2015, at least 13 toddlers accidentally killed themselves with guns; 18 more toddlers injured themselves, while 1o injured and two killed other people.

During a news conference on Thursday, Police Chief Troy Riggs called the incident a “tragic situation for Kiyan’s family.” He proceeded during the conference by speaking about the importance of gun safety.

“Tragedies can occur and it’s hard to believe that this could potentially occur to such a young person,” he said. “I didn’t realize that this could occur until I had a gun safety class years ago, and they showed demonstrations of what young children can do with weapons. It’s remarkably scary. I’ll just be quite frank. So never underestimate the ability of a child to fire a weapon. No matter how young they are.”

According to Kidshealth.org, more than one third of all U.S. households contain at least one gun, which is why it is vital for parents to talk to their children about gun safety if they are going to own, and keep, a gun in their home. The site suggests telling your kids the following rules when they come in contact with a gun:

  • stop what they’re doing
  • do not touch the gun
  • leave the area where the gun is
  • tell an adult right away

The website also gives suggestions on what to do to protect the safety of you and your family if you have a gun in your home:

  • Take the ammunition out of the gun.
  • Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
  • Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
  • Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
  • Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
  • When handling or cleaning a gun, adults should never leave the gun unattended.

[Photo via Shutterstock]