Florida Toddler Fatally Shot Himself After Finding Gun in Toolbox: Police

A Florida toddler died Wednesday after he found an unlocked gun and was playing with it when it went off, police said.

Gainesville police responded to the home at approximately 6 p.m. after receiving reports of a shooting involving a 3-year-old.

Detective Sergeant John Pandak told Newsweek the child obtained the firearm from an unlocked toolbox inside the home. Police said the child was playing with the gun when it accidentally went off.

"It was obviously unlocked and he was able to get to it so it wasn't in a place that was appropriate for a child," Pandak said. "It's fair to say between him and the other kids in the house they were playing with it."

Florida toddler fatally shot himself
Police told Newsweek the child was home with two other children and an adult when the incident occurred. 7713Photography/iStock

Accidental Firearm Deaths

According to the Gun Violence Archive, an estimated 1,022 individuals have been unintentionally shot by firearms in 2022—with 12 incidents recorded on January 1.

The archive also estimates more than 820 children younger than 11 years old died from unintentional shootings in 2022.

According to police, the toddler was home with two other juveniles who witnessed the incident. While neither parents were home, Pandak confirmed an adult was at the residence at the time.

The child was transported to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, police said.

Pandak said no charges have been filed and that the adult that was home is cooperating with police. The investigation remains active.

The boy's death comes just two days after a 6-year-old Michigan boy accidentally shot his 5-year-old brother in the eye while playing with the gun unsupervised by an adult. The boy was transported to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Earlier this month, a 9-year-old playing with a gun accidentally killed a 15-year-old girl, and in Julym a 3-year-old in Wisconsin died after fatally shooting himself.

Storing Firearms

According to the 2021 National Firearm Survey, one-third of all households have firearms, with 20 percent reporting having at least one firearm that is loaded and unlocked.

Of the estimated 30 million children who live in homes with firearms, about 4.6 million live in households with at least one loaded and unlocked firearm.

To keep children from finding firearms in the home, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing all guns in safes that require a passcode as well as leaving firearms unloaded and ammo placed in a lock box.

Gun owners can also look into purchasing trigger locks which prevent the trigger from being pulled as well as cable locks to prevent the firing of the weapon.