A 3-year-old boy in Greenville, South Carolina was shot in the head and killed on Friday after he started playing with a pink handgun because he thought it was a toy.
Police responding to the shooting at Haywood Plantation Apartments said that Tmorej Smith was found with a gunshot wound to the head, according to The Associated Press.
Investigators determined that Tmorej and his 7-year-old sister had been playing with a pink handgun when the incident occurred.
Deputy Coroner Jeff Fowler ruled the shooting an accidental homicide.
Fowler said that the shooting happened in a bedroom, while the boy’s grandparents were in the living room. The parents were not at home at the time.
“If you have guns, if you own guns mostly we would prefer you have them in a lock box,” Greenville Police Media Relations Officer Jonathan Bragg told WYFF. “At least have them out of the reach of children.”
Police had not yet revealed who fired the weapon.
Pink handguns and Hello Kitty assault rifles have been part of an effort to get firearms in the hands of women and younger groups in recent years. In 2011, Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein (R) was criticized after she pointed her loaded raspberry-pink handgun at a reporter.
“Oh, it’s so cute,” Klein told the reporter as she aimed the gun’s laser pointer at the reporter’s chest, adding that the firearm’s lack of a trigger safety should not be a reason to worry.
“I just didn’t have my hand on the trigger,” she said.
Watch this video from Discovery’s American Guns.
[Ed. Note: The link to the Hello Kitty assault rifle, which originally pointed to a parody site, now points to the DIY work of a California man who created it for his wife. Though he is not a licensed manufacturer, under current laws he could sell this or any similar weapon to another collector without a background check.]
UPDATE (February 22, 2013): Sanrio’s legal counsel, Noel M. Cook from Owen, Wickersham & Erickson told Raw Story in a statement:
Sanrio is not involved in any effort to promote firearms sales. Sanrio has not authorized the manufacture or sale of any firearm or weapon, and Sanrio and does not condone the use of its HELLO KITTY character for the purposes of marketing that type of merchandise. The “Hello Kitty assault rifle” mentioned in this article was customized by an individual without authorization to include Sanrio’s Hello Kitty copyrighted images and trademarks. Such actions constitute copyright infringement, trademark infringement and dilution. Sanrio will take appropriate legal action against anyone who manufactures, sells or displays such products.