WELLSVILLE — A 2-year-old boy has died from an accidental shooting at his home and police say the boy's 3-year-old sister pulled the trigger.
"This is a stark reminder of the importance of keeping guns locked up and denied access to young people," Cache County Sheriff Lt. Mike Peterson said. "This is a very tragic incident, but one that is preventable."
The boy, whose name was not released, was shot in the stomach with a .22-caliber rifle that was used earlier in the day and then left in the living room of the home, near 3600 West and 2200 South, in the College Ward area of unincorporated Cache County. The incident occurred at about 6:40 p.m. on Friday.
"The gun was in an unloaded state but did have live rounds in the magazine," Peterson said. "We believe the 3-year-old had to manipulate the action enough to chamber a live round."
The boy's mother heard the gun shot from another room and called for help, according to Peterson. He said the boy was taken to Logan Regional Hospital, where he was rushed into surgery. The boy was later flown to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he died.
Neighbor Becky Stivers said the entire neighborhood is thinking about the young family and are willing to help them in any way they can. She said she and other neighbors have already discussed setting up a fundraiser to help with any expenses.
"It deeply affected everybody," Stivers said. "It was just very devastating for everyone around after we heard what happened."
She said everyone in the area has kids and this is one of those incidents you "don't think is going to happen."
"It's just one of those things ... just a pure accident," Stivers said. "It's a horrible thing and our hearts are breaking for the family."
While police believe the shooting was accidental, Peterson said the investigation is ongoing and will be reviewed by the county attorney's office to decide whether charging the parents is warranted.
"We urge any and all to take an inventory of their current practices in storing guns and ammunitions," he said. "Incidents like this are devastating and the best thing we can do from here is learn from the experience and make ourselves more vigilant and safe."
Contributing: Sandra Yi
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