He was rushed to a hospital on Friday after the shooting but succumbed to his injuries.
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Trigger Warning: The story has details of a shooting that readers may find disturbing
A 3-year-old toddler in Oregon fatally shot himself after finding his family's handgun in a drawer. The tragic incident took place in Washington County. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a shooting at the 7100 block of SW Millenium Terrace in Aloha on Friday, according to a press release by the Sheriff's office. Authorities identified a 3-year-old boy named James Kenneth Lindquester, who had been grievously wounded. His family members had called 911. The release added the child, according to his family members, had found a "handgun out of a bedroom end table drawer and shot himself in the head. Deputies along with Metro West and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue took over life-saving efforts from the family."
Deputies on scene at Aloha home after report of 3-year-old boy who shot himself in the head with a handgun. Child hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. More details will be released later tonight. pic.twitter.com/EoC7wiTxOI— Washington County Sheriff’s Office (@WCSOOregon) October 10, 2020
Lindquester was then rushed to a hospital nearby but "was pronounced deceased just before midnight," the release added. Investigators from the Violent Crimes Unit and the Special Investigations Unit responded to the scene and the investigation is on-going. The next day, an autopsy was conducted by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. Cases of children getting hold of guns in the household leading to the fatal shooting have been a common occurrence across the country. In June of last year, we had reported a tragic case in South Carolina, where a 2-year-old child shot himself with his grandmother's revolver. The child, named Kayden John Stuber, from the city of Greenville, South Carolina, found the gun in her grandmother's purse.
At the time of the shooting, the child was under the care of his grandmother. He shot himself accidentally while playing with the gun. Although he was immediately rushed to the hospital, he died on the way there. In another incident, a 14-year-old girl in Mississippi was shot dead by her 9-year-old brother according to WTVA. According to authorities, the two children were playing at home in Wren when the shooting happened. The gun belonged to their father. The mother was in the kitchen at the time of the shooting. In another incident in Arizona, a toddler accidentally shot himself in his home in Glendale in March. He shot himself with a handgun that belonged to his parents that was reportedly in an open compartment of a nightstand.
This is why we put them where kids can’t reach, people.— Brea (@Brea76716395) October 10, 2020
The child was not home when the parents placed the gun in the unsecured location but found it later. According to Everytown For Gun Safety, "an estimated 4.6 million American children live in homes with at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked." Add to this, "every year, hundreds of American children gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else." Especially during the coronavirus, the incidents of shooting by kids at homes across the country were regularly reported, according to CBS News. This coincided with the surge in the sale of guns.
Horrible, but a serious reminder to keep guns out of the reach of children.— cslimfu (@cslimfu) October 10, 2020
Shannon Watts, founder of Everytown 's anti-gun violence volunteer network Moms Demand Action, said, "We know that there are risks to having guns in the home, and with the surge in gun sales in the last two months, it could create more opportunity for kids to gain access to guns and unintentionally hurt themselves or someone else. The numbers show there's been an increase in these horrible shooting tragedies during the time the pandemic was at its peak." Just in April, cases of unintentional shootings by children under 17 resulted in 21 deaths. During the same month, from 2017 to 2019, an average of 15 deaths took place. Sarah Burd-Sharps, research director for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, said, "Adults can't count on children to 'know better' and not touch firearms."
She added, "It's always a parent's responsibility to keep guns out of the reach of children and teens, especially as more young people are home during the quarantine."