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3-year kills himself. WARNING!!!...Child death involved

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3-year-old kills self with gun in car in Tacoma

Tacoma accidental death 3rd recent chlld shooting in NW (Jim Scott/KING 5 News)
Tacoma accidental death 3rd recent chlld shooting in NW (Jim Scott/KING 5 News)

SEATTLE (AP) -- A 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself with a gun he found in a car while his family stopped for gas early Wednesday in Tacoma, police said. It was western Washington's third recent shooting by a child.

"It is incredible in light of the other ones," said Tacoma police Officer Naveed Benjamin. "You would think people would take more care, not less."

The Tacoma-area family had stopped for gas about 12:30 a.m. The father put his pistol under the seat and got out to pump gas while the mother went inside the convenience store, Benjamin said.

They left their son and their infant daughter in the car. The boy climbed out of his child seat, found the gun and shot himself in the head, police said. He was declared dead at a hospital. The girl was not injured.

Detectives questioned the parents and have called the shooting a tragic accident, Benjamin said. The father has a concealed weapons permit, and no charges are anticipated, he said.

Washington does not have a law specifically concerning child access to firearms.

The shooting follows the death of the 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police officer in Stanwood on Saturday when a sibling found a gun and fired while the parents were out of their car.

And on Feb. 22, an 8-year-old girl was critically wounded in a Bremerton classroom when a gun fired inside the backpack of a 9-year-old boy as he put it on a desk.

"It's another tragedy in a very short period of time," Benjamin said.

It highlights the need for people to secure guns, he said. "You can't predict what children are going to do," he said. "You need to unload and lock it up if you're not carrying it. ... It's really not that hard to practice firearm safety."

Twenty-seven states have some form of law to prevent child access to firearms, but Washington is not one of them. Such laws can include criminal penalties for adults who allow children to get their hands on guns, according to the San Francisco-based group Legal Community Against Violence.

State lawmakers considered a measure in the regular legislative session that ended Friday that would have required additional testing of gun locks and safes before the equipment is distributed to law enforcement officers for home use. The bill was prompted by the 2010 death of a Clark County deputy's 3-year-old son. The toddler took a gun from a department-issued safe, which the family insisted was faulty.

A spokesman for the Second Amendment Foundation said existing laws are enough to encourage gun safety, as long as the gun owners obey them.

"Responsible people will maintain gun safety whether there is a law or not; irresponsible people will ignore the law," said Dave Workman, senior editor of the group's publication, called thegunmag.com. He said existing statutes, including child endangerment laws, were designed to prevent such tragedies.

Workman said what he can't figure out is why the two men left their guns in their vehicles when they were licensed to carry them. "Most responsible gun owners, especially if they're licensed to carry, will keep their firearm with them," Workman said.

News of the latest shooting caused Washington Cease Fire Executive Director Gregory Roberts to groan, "Oh no."

"We think guns are dangerous, but they are not treated as dangerous by our society or by laws or by our regulations," he said. "We regard guns as some sort of sacred object that should not be subject to regulation."

The Seattle organization is currently running a campaign of ads on buses urging people to think twice about owning guns. People with guns in their home or car are more likely to injure or kill a family member or loved one than to use it against an intruder, he said.

"Unfortunately we've been saying the same thing over and over because we see the same thing happening over and over," Roberts said.

In Saturday's shooting, off-duty Marysville police Officer Derek Carlile had parked the family van near Stanwood City Hall, and he and his wife were out of the vehicle when one of their children found the loaded gun and fired. The shot hit 7-year-old Jenna Carlile, and the girl, the oldest of their four children, died Sunday at a Seattle hospital.

The 8-year-old Bremerton girl, Amina Kocer-Bowman, remained in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after nearly dying in the accidental shooting at Armin Jahr Elementary, where a classmate brought a handgun to class. Authorities believe the boy took the .45-caliber gun from the glove compartment of a car while visiting his mother and her boyfriend at their home. He lives with an uncle.

The 9-year-old pleaded guilty last week to reckless endangerment and was sentenced to probation and counseling. He is expected to testify against his mother, Jamie Lee Chaffin, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, who were charged Tuesday with felony assault.

Chaffin and Bauer each could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 1:56 AM
Replies (41-50):
Nicky2911
by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:11 AM

Many of us have done this before. I guess you figure not only are you two feet from your child separated by translucent (more or less) glass and they are buckled into a five point harness seat. It should be ok to pump gas for five minutes, right? I have gone in to get drinks while he pumps. Its much easier afterwards to insist that is was irresponsible but you cannot hold your kids to your breast every second of every day :(

Quoting DaLordsMezNger:

The article says that the dad was putting gas. The mom was the one in the store.

Quoting lilblu399:

So they don't have a law with guns, what about leaving two children in a car unsupervised? It takes two if them to get gas and snacks, really?


lilblu399
by Tamika on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:13 AM
3 moms liked this
Between the 2 of them, one couldn't sit in the car with the kids? Still is negligence to me, especially since they knew there was a loaded gun in the car not locked in a safe spot.

Quoting DaLordsMezNger:

The article says that the dad was putting gas. The mom was the one in the store.



Quoting lilblu399:

So they don't have a law with guns, what about leaving two children in a car unsupervised? It takes two if them to get gas and snacks, really?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Momof2angels88
by Bronze Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:18 AM
My 15 year old son was shot in the head by a 12 year old playing with a gun he "found" at his house, NOONE was charged with anything, but A WEEK later a 15 year old brings a gun to school and they arrest his grandfather for not properly storing the gun! No one was hurt, the gun does not even go off and someone is charged! But a 15 year old boy is killed, by a 12 year old and NO ONE is charged with anything! Not understanding the reason not to charge anyone for a death, but charge someone because their grandchild brings a gun to "show off to his friends"'
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lilblu399
by Tamika on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:19 AM
So you leave your children in the car alone with deadly weapons within reach all the time? I'm not one of those 'many' I have a 1yo and a 4yo and they are some quick ones so no I wouldn't turn my back especially if I know there is something dangerous around them.Just like I don't let my TV babysit, I wouldn't expect my car to do it either.

Quoting Nicky2911:

Many of us have done this before. I guess you figure not only are you two feet from your child separated by translucent (more or less) glass and they are buckled into a five point harness seat. It should be ok to pump gas for five minutes, right? I have gone in to get drinks while he pumps. Its much easier afterwards to insist that is was irresponsible but you cannot hold your kids to your breast every second of every day :(


Quoting DaLordsMezNger:

The article says that the dad was putting gas. The mom was the one in the store.



Quoting lilblu399:

So they don't have a law with guns, what about leaving two children in a car unsupervised? It takes two if them to get gas and snacks, really?


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
merandaobrien
by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:19 AM

This is so sad. My heart goes out to this family. They must feel awful. It just goes to show you have to be alert at all times when it comes to anything that has to do with weapons and children. Sad thing is that this probably wasnt the first time the dad put the gun there. He probably just assumed that nothing would happen, but you can never be too careful. This is why I am way too scared to have a gun in my home even under lock and key. 

Fields456
by Sexy and I know it on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:24 AM
Why would he have one in the chamber when he left it near his children because I highly doubt a 3 user old could chamber a bullet also why would u have a gun without a double safety around your young kids. There is no way my child has the strength to chamber a bullet on our pistol( hell I barly can). And her hands are not big enough to hold both the safeties to fire it
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DaLordsMezNger
by Silver Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:37 AM
I was only correcting you about both parents being in the store. The negligent part was leaving a loaded gun in the car not the actual pumping of the gas.

Quoting lilblu399:

Between the 2 of them, one couldn't sit in the car with the kids? Still is negligence to me, especially since they knew there was a loaded gun in the car not locked in a safe spot.



Quoting DaLordsMezNger:

The article says that the dad was putting gas. The mom was the one in the store.





Quoting lilblu399:

So they don't have a law with guns, what about leaving two children in a car unsupervised? It takes two if them to get gas and snacks, really?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
champagne_rose
by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:38 AM

 This is so sad!

Paperfishies
by Platinum Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 3:40 AM
My two year old can get herself out of her 5 point harness.


Quoting morrigan914:

How the hell did a three year old climb out of a car seat???!!! This is tragic, a completely preventable tragedy.

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blessed107
by Sonja on Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:47 AM

So sad all the way around for these families.

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