VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (TCD) -- A 3-year-old child died this week after he reportedly found a loaded gun in a nightstand and pulled the trigger while his parents were grocery shopping.
In a news briefing Thursday, Feb. 16, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood began by saying he would "rather be standing anywhere but here" before sharing details about the fatal shooting. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Volusia County dispatch received a 911 call at 6:22 p.m. about a shooting at a home on Nectarine Road in DeLand. The first deputy arrived at 6:29 p.m. and attempted lifesaving measures on the 3-year-old, but the boy’s injuries were "too severe."
Medics transported the child to the nearest hospital, and he was pronounced dead at 7:03 p.m.
According to Chitwood, the child’s parents were at Publix picking up groceries and left their 16-year-old to watch the 3-year-old and a 7-year-old. The 3-year-old reportedly went into his parents' room, located the firearm, and shot himself in the face. Chitwood did not identify the family because the father is a state correctional officer.
The father reportedly usually kept his guns in a safe, but the safe’s electronic lock stopped working. Officials located another firearm on top of the refrigerator. Investigators are looking into how long the safe has been "inoperable."
The child shot himself with a 9 mm Canik firearm that discharged once and needed only 4.6 pounds of pressure to pull the trigger.
Chitwood said at the press conference, "I cannot imagine there’s anything in the law books that can punish that family more than what happened last night."