The 3-year-old son of a Florida prison officer finds a gun in a bedside table and shoots himself in the head
A 3-year-old Florida boy died this week after he apparently wandered into his parents’ bedroom and shot himself in the face with a loaded gun he found in a bedside table, the sheriff said of Volusia County, Mike Chitwood, at a news conference Thursday.
The child was in the care of her 16-year-old sister while her parents went shopping, Chitwood said. An 8-year-old brother was also at home at the time of the incident.
The boy’s father, a Florida state corrections officer, told investigators he normally kept his firearms in a safe in the bedroom, but it didn’t lock properly. A second gun was found above the refrigerator, Chitwood added during the emotional press conference.
Chitwood said he would like other parents who have guns in their house with a non-working safe “to hear the 16-year-old say ‘My brother shot himself. and he’s not breathing, “and I think if you heard you were running get out right now and buy a gun safe.”
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Deputies responded to the scene in DeLand, Fla., after 6 p.m. ET Wednesday after calls to 911 from the sister and parents. The boy was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said.
The case will go to the state’s attorney’s office to decide whether charges will be filed. “I can’t imagine there’s anything on the law books that can punish this family more than what happened last night,” Chitwood said.
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He added he was also concerned for the physical and mental health of MPs who witnessed the horrific scene, saying they would receive mandatory advice on the ‘life-changing’ appeal.
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“It shouldn’t have happened,” he said, “and my deputies and dispatchers shouldn’t be going through what they’re going through.”