The 2-year-old son of a Cleveland Police officer has lost his life after the toddler accidentally shot himself using his father’s service weapon. According to the Washington Post, the tragic incident was reported on Friday morning from Cleveland, Ohio. The report states that police officers responded to the scene of the incident on Friday morning, at around 10:30 a.m., local time after the toddler’s elder brother was heard screaming by a neighbor. The neighbor, identified as Sonya Hobbs, said she heard the boy say that his brother had been shot.
“(He was) hollering ‘Call 911, my brother just shot himself.’ He was just screaming and hollering. I got my phone and called 911,” Sonya said.
Sensing trouble, Sonya quickly ran into the home and she saw a toddler lying injured. She quickly dialed 911 from her phone. Within minutes, emergency services reached the address, following which the injured toddler was taken to the nearby MetroHealth Medical Center. However, doctors there were unable to save the life of the child. The elder child has been identified as Dominic Pedro, FOX 8 confirmed.
The father of the victim was identified as 54-year-old Joseph Pedro, who has been with the Cleveland Police Department for over 23 years. Initial investigation into the incident has confirmed that the shot was indeed fired from Joseph’s service weapon. At this time, it remains unclear as to how the toddler was able to get ahold of the gun.
The Cleveland Police Department says it has launched an investigation into the incident. At the time of publishing this article, no arrests have been made in connection with the case. The department, however, confirmed that it asks its officers to use or handle their service weapons “in a safe, proper and authorized manner.”
The latest incident of child shooting in Cleveland has once again fueled a debate in the country. In 2016 alone, there were more than 242 reports of child shootings in which a minor accidentally shot themselves or someone else using weapons. In most cases, the weapons came into the hands of the kids due to the carelessness of their parents. In the previous year, there were 278 such shootings. The Washington Post report also went on to add that many of the toddlers involved in these incidents were as young as a year old at the time of the shootings.
This latest incident at the home of the Cleveland police officer comes just a few months after there were reports of an 18-month-old toddler shooting and killing himself at his home in Georgia. The incident is still under investigation as police struggle to figure out whether the toddler had killed himself accidentally or if his 3-year-old brother was the one who accidentally shot him. In another such incident, a 2-year-old toddler from Indiana shot himself using his mother’s weapon that was carelessly left inside her purse at her kitchen counter. At around the same time, there was another report of a 1-year-old girl from Missouri shooting herself using her father’s gun.
According to statistics from The U.S. General Accounting Office, it is estimated that more than 31 percent of accidental deaths caused by firearms could be prevented by adding just two devices; a child-proof safety lock and a loading indicator. The stats also revealed that one-out-of-three handguns are kept loaded and unlocked at several homes, and that children are aware as to where these weapons are kept. In fact, in a survey, 73 percent of children under the age of 10 admitted to know where they would find the guns and 36 percent admitted to have handled the weapons by themselves during their absence.
[Featured Image by Jarmoluk/Pixabay]