The 3-year-old son of a Florida corrections officer fatally shot himself this week after his parents went grocery shopping and left his 16-year-old sister in charge, officials said.
Visibly shaken Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said police responded to a home near Deland at 6:22 p.m. Wednesday after the tot’s “frantic” sibling called 911 and said her brother had shot himself in the face.
Speaking Thursday, Chitwood said arriving units found the boy gravely wounded and immediately administered CPR.
“It was obvious at that point in time that the 3-year-old had probably … did expire,” the sheriff said.
Chitwood noted that the first traumatized deputy who responded to the scene was left covered in blood as she attempted to save the boy’s life.
Chitwood said the child had entered his parents’ bedroom and retrieved the loaded gun from a nightstand.
The boy was holding the Canik .9mm pistol to his face when he pulled the trigger.
“When he got into the end table, he picked the gun out, turned it toward himself, and he shot himself point-blank range,” he said.
Police found another firearm, a Glock pistol, on top of a refrigerator in the home, along with an inoperable safe.
The children’s 8-year-old brother was also home during the tragedy.
Chitwood said the victim’s parents went to a local Publix supermarket and had left the teen in charge of her siblings.
Chitwood implored all gun owners ensure that their firearms are secured when children are in the house.
“I would like them to listen to that 911 call,” he said. “I would like to have them hear the 16-year-old say, ‘My brother shot himself, and he’s not breathing.’ ”
No charges have been filed in the case, but Chitwood said he will be relaying the results of his agency’s investigation to state prosecutors.
“We will investigate it and we will submit it to the State Attorney’s Office to see where and when if anything is going to happen,” he said.
“I cannot imagine there is anything in the law books that can punish that family more than what happened last night,” he added.
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