PAYSON, Ariz. – Police said an 18-month-old boy is dead after being shot in the head by his 3-year-old brother, reports CBS affiliate KPHO.
The boys were at a neighbor’s apartment in Payson, Ariz., on Tuesday when they found a semi-automatic gun that belonged to the man they were visiting, according to the station. Police said the toddler’s 3-year-old brother picked up the weapon and pulled the trigger. Payson Police Chief Don Engler said officers found the boy’s mother carrying the wounded child in the parking lot outside the apartment after they received several 911 calls about a child with a head injury. The boy was pronounced dead after being rushed to Payson Regional Medical Center, KPHO reports.
“The apartment that this occurred in was a family friend of the mother and two children,” said Engler. “The children had slipped into another room unobserved by the mother and the 78-year-old occupant of the apartment,” Engler said, noting that the family had been visiting for about 10 to 15 minutes before the shooting. “Even though many of our young officers have children of their own, certainly it’s difficult for our officers in those circumstances.”
According to KPHO, police have not released the names of anyone involved in the incident. Suzy Tubbs, the director of Payson Community Kids, a nonprofit located across the street from the apartment, said the young mother often visited with her two sons. “I was always so impressed with a mom who wants to give back and help out…. [The boys] were really cute, playing on the playground, playing hard, getting dirty… typical little boys.”
This tore my heart out. I feel so deeply for this mother’s loss. That is all I’ll say about my sadness. Now let’s talk about how pissed off I am with irresponsible gun owners. I’ve been around guns my entire life. My gramps kept a loaded shotgun by his side of bed. He took my bother and me in there and explained what the gun was for and what it could do. How it could hurt somebody if we thought it had no bullets in it. He said don’t ever touch the gun, we never touched the gun. I hear at least 2-3 stories like this every week. It’s time to make people pay for leaving a gun a child can get access to. A semi-automatic????? What was this a drug house? Who needs a semi if not drugs then ego? The person responsible for leaving the gun where the kids could reach it has blood on their hands. What happened to gun locks? What happened to gun safes? What happened to putting a gun where a 3-year-old could never reach it? I’ve owned guns since I was fourteen, a shotgun and later two 38’s. When a child came to my house I would unload guns, put on locks and hide away. Could that adorable two-year old even pull the trigger, I did not want to find out. We have become a society no longer responsible for our actions. Last week I said to a CTC member, parents need to parent their kids and parent themselves. This doesn’t apply to the majority, JUST THE DUMBASS RESPONSIBLE FOR A DEAD CHILD. Put them in jail as if they pulled the trigger. That will get attention, maybe people will think of something other than themselves. I don’t have children yet I’m human and compassionate. To many children have died at the hands of a parent, family or friends house. Stop this madness. It only takes a minute.