LEMOORE, Calif.—Central California authorities say a 3-year-old girl found a loaded gun and fatally shot herself in the head.
Lemoore police Detective Matthew Smith told The Fresno Bee on Wednesday that the girl and her family were visiting from Southern California when she found a gun in an apartment bedroom.
Her mother, sibling and the mother’s friend heard the shot Saturday and tried to help. The child was taken to a hospital, where she died.
Smith says two people who live in the apartment were gone when the girl fired the gun registered to a friend of one of the roommates.
He says no arrests have been made, but the gun owner and the roommate could face charges.
The case is being investigated as reckless endangerment of a child resulting in death and negligent storage of a firearm.
“It’s just an unfortunate accident,” Smith told the paper. “It’s hard on everyone. Our hearts go out to the family involved.” The family didn’t know the sound was gunfire and first thought the child had fallen from the bed, Smith said.
“Based on my investigation and all the statements I’ve obtained and physical evidence, I believe it could have been avoided by simply securing a firearm,” Smith told ABC30.
“Take care of the guns, and those that know how to handle them, will,” a neighbor told the station. “Those that don’t, can’t.”
Epoch Times contributed to this article, adding all quotes.