GASTONIA, N.C. — A father is dead after his toddler son found a gun and accidentally shot him in a Gastonia home, the boy’s family told Channel 9.
Police said they were called just after 8:45 p.m. on Sunday to a shooting at the home on West Fifth Avenue. When they got there, officers said they found 29-year-old Markovia Lashawn Durham dead from a gunshot wound.
The 2-year-old boy, who was visiting his grandmother with his parents, found a gun and began to play with it, believing it was a toy, according to the child’s grandmother. He then accidentally fired the weapon, striking his father, Durham, she said.
She said the boy dropped the gun and ran outside when the shot went off.
She told Channel 9 that the boy, who was very close to his dad, knows something is wrong, but doesn’t quite understand what happened.
“A lot of people look at the situation and they think that the child knows that’s a gun. That’s dangerous and that’s not always the case,” said Jennifer Fredell-Saucier, the owner of Southern Belle Firearms Training and an instructor.
She said a lot of toy guns look like real guns. For a child, it’s hard to distinguish and easy to make a costly mistake.
“Even children 7-10 years of age maybe do not understand the difference. They do not understand the harm that can come from a firearm,” Fredell-Saucier said.
She said anyone permitted to have a concealed weapon must acknowledge that it’s their duty to secure the weapon so a child can’t get it.
Police have not yet confirmed the boy’s involvement and said the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information that could help with the investigation is asked to call Detective Fleming at (704) 866-6878.
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