A two-year-old boy died from what seemed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound while in his home in Fayetteville, North Carolina on the morning of September 16. At the time of the incident, the toddler was in the company of two adults and a teenager but as to how the toddler managed to get hold of the gun, investigators baffled are still baffled. The identities of the child and the family members have not been made public while the investigation is in progress.
Officers responded to a call from the victim's home in McArthur Place Community where Fayetteville Police Department spokesperson Lt. Gary Womble confirmed there were three other people in the house when the emergency call patched through. However, it is yet to be revealed who among the family members was supposed to be keeping watch over the child at the time.
The child was immediately rushed to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment, but later died due to his injuries on Friday. A neighbour reportedly witnessed a woman crying outside of the family's home just moments before the paramedics and the police department rolled into the scene.
In a report from ABC News' Raleigh station WTVD, Lt. Womble said during a press conference:
"In my opinion, any gunshot wound is serious, especially when it happens to a juvenile. It's even more serious and more serious for us in our investigative methods to find out exactly what occurred that a child would suffer a gunshot wound. That's important to us and that's what the detectives are working hard to determine what happened."
Under the Child Access Prevention law in North Carolina, a person is criminally liable if they reside with a minor and possess a firearm that has been stored or left behind in a manner or condition that can be discharged. This applies as well if the person has knowledge that an unsupervised minor could gain access to the firearm.
On the other hand, it is a misdemeanour in North Carolina for a person to knowingly permit a child under the age of 12 to have access to, or be in possession of any firearm whether loaded or unloaded unless, under the supervision of an adult parent or guardian.