A 3-year-old Texas boy died from what police believe was an accidental shooting after the toddler found a loaded gun in his family home.
Police responded to a shooting report at the 200 block of Begonia Street around 2:14 p.m. Monday. The emergency crew found Troy Blue Dueñes with a gunshot wound to his chest at the scene.
After further investigation, police said that the child had found an “unsecured and loaded firearm” in one of the bedrooms belonging to an adult family member. Investigators believe that the child may have accidentally shot himself.
“An autopsy confirmed that the wound was consistent with being self-inflicted,” the Elsa Police Department said in a statement on Facebook.
The first responders administered life-saving measures on the child and rushed him to a nearby hospital. Later, the boy succumbed to his injuries, KRGV reported.
“This was a tragic incident and our hearts go out to the family and friends affected,” Elsa Police Chief Robert McGinnis said in the statement.
According to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been at least 284 unintentional shootings by children in 2021. It resulted in 116 deaths and 183 injuries nationally.
The Be Smart Campaign, which raises gun safety awareness, said that in 2020, gun sales have increased by 64 percent. This poses a huge risk for children as many are confined to their homes due to COVID-19 restrictions. The campaign said people should always assume children can reach a gun, and urged them to “store firearms locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.” According to an estimate, at least 5.4 million children live in homes where guns are kept loaded and unlocked.
The Elsa police also reminded the public about gun safety and urged families to properly secure their weapons and keep them away from children, according to the NY Daily News.
“To prevent this from happening to another family, we at the Elsa Police Department would like to remind everyone about the importance of gun safety,” McGinnis said. “We are advocates for responsible gun ownership and gun safety. Education on proper handling, storing, and securing weapons are essential for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.”
Police are still investigating the case.
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