Seattle Toddler Shoots Pregnant Mom in Face After Finding Hidden Gun
A 4-year-old boy in a Washington state apartment accidentally shot his mother in the face on Saturday after finding a loaded gun in her bedroom, authorities said.
The 27-year-old woman, who is eight months pregnant, and her boyfriend, the boy’s father, were in bed watching TV on Saturday afternoon when their son found the gun, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said.
He then shot his mother unintentionally, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sergeant Ryan Abbott said.
“He found a handgun that was unsecured there and he grabbed it, and before anyone knew what happened, they heard a pop sound. And the mom was shot on her face area,” Abbott said.
According to local media reports, the child discovered a loaded unsecured weapon under the mattress in the house after his father hid it there on Friday night after hearing noises outside the family’s home. The boy’s father told deputies he borrowed the gun for protection, Abbott said. Police ran the gun and found it to be “clean,” meaning that it isn’t stolen or involved in any crimes, however, the gun is unregistered.
According to the Seattle Times, the mother was transported to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center by authorities with life-threatening wounds. However, on Sunday, the hospital stated that her condition had improved and she had been moved to another unnamed facility, according to the Washington Post.
Her boyfriend is now under investigation for not securing the gun, which he borrowed from a friend, and “putting somebody at risk,” Abbott said.
“We don’t ever want to see something like this,” he added. “The hope going forward is guns are locked up in people’s houses, so something tragic like this doesn’t happen. Because now this child is going to be affected forever. And we’re hoping and praying the mom is going to be ok in this situation.”
Enough with the prayers, they ain’t gonna do shit! Laws need to be changed. Period!— Michael Philips (@MichaelP4383) February 3, 2019
The shooting happened just months after Washington voters approved a measure, Initiative 1639, that “holds gun owners criminally liable if an unsecured gun is accessed by someone not allowed to have a firearm, like a child, and the gun is discharged.” Initiative 1639 also raises the minimum age to buy a pistol or semiautomatic rifle to 21. It also imposes more background checks and longer waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic rifles.
However, that law does not go into effect until July 1 – meaning it cannot be used to criminally charge the boy’s father.
Gun rights advocates and several sheriff’s departments have strongly opposed the initiative, which immediately prompted lawsuits from the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association. Several sheriff’s offices have announced that they will not enforce the initiative until legal challenges have been resolved.
“I am instructing my deputies not to enforce Initiative 1639 in Grant County while the constitutional validity remains in argument at the federal courts level,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said in a statement Monday. “I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights. I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”
In King County, which covers the suburb where the family lives, council officials recently approved a law imposing fines of up to $1,000 for failing to safely store firearms. The cities of Seattle and Edmonds have passed similar ordinances.
Detectives will be looking into the case on February 4 to see if any charges should be filed, according to KOMO-TV.
“We’re reminding anybody with a gun, kids see them as toys,” Abbott said. “The biggest tragic lesson here is please lock-up your guns so they can’t be used accidentally for the wrong reason.”
The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham has documented hundreds of cases in which children accidentally shot themselves or someone else in their household.