INDIANAPOLIS - After a 3-year-old child was shot and killed Saturday night, officials are investigating what the parents knew about the child’s accessibility to the weapon and the danger that it placed him in.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Prosecutor's Office are looking into the factual circumstances of the shooting.
Investigators said the victim shot himself in the head after he grabbed the weapon from a kitchen countertop.
The victim's parents and his 4-year-old sister were home at the time of the shooting.
"We don't say you've lost enough so you're absolved of criminal responsibility. The reality is the law doesn't exist as a deterrent to just the parents and is a punishment to a parent who might have engaged in behavior that was dangerous. It's also saying to the community there is some behavior that simply can't be tolerated," Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Korobov said.
A federal study of unintentional shootings found that eight percent of deaths by firearms resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six.
Guy Relford, attorney, author and National Rifle Association certified firearms instructor, said that parents who have firearms in the home need to lock away their weapons.
"I've got to believe the likelihood of an accidental injury is very high. And so when we say you have to balance security versus accessibility, security has to win," Relford said.
Relford said people who purchase firearms have a responsibility to lock them up.
Many law enforcement agencies give out free trigger-lock devices for those who ask.
The prosecutor’s office is not expected to make a charging decision in the case until after the victim’s funeral.
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