Police: 3-Year-Old Shoots, Kills Father

Toddler Finds Loaded Handgun, Shoots

A 3-year-old boy fired a handgun, killing his father, police said.

Investigators said Michael A. Bayless, 33, was watching TV with two of his children Friday, when his other child, the 3-year-old, located a loaded .45 caliber handgun nearby and accidentally fired it.

"He picked up the gun and it discharged, striking the deceased victim," Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin told RTV6's Ebone Monet.

Bayless was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another juvenile family member and Bayless' wife were also at the home, in the 3600 block of West Vincennes Trail in Salem, Ind.

No other injuries were reported.

The Bayless family lives in Martinsville, but they were at their property in Washington County, where Michael Bayless was doing renovations.

"They're a great family. I mean, they all loved each other," said James Cleveland, a Martinsville neighbor of the Bayless family. "It's a bad tragedy. He was carrying the gun for his personal safety."

"I think it's crazy," said neighbor Doug Kirkohoff. "I think it's irresponsible, for one. We have firearms, but (our son) doesn't even know where they're at, and they're definitely not loaded. We have gun locks. It's definitely a tragedy."

Goodin said the case remains under investigation, but Washington County's prosecutors will determine if charges are warranted.

Goodin called the case a "tragic accident and a tragic mistake" of leaving a gun within a child's reach.

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