A two-year-old died in Texas after shooting himself with a gun he found in a family member's backpack, officials said, the latest in a string of similar accidents by US children which have become tragically ordinary.
The boy in the city of Waco sustained a gunshot wound to his head and was taken to a hospital where he later died, according to a statement by local police released Thursday.
Investigators believe the boy killed himself by accident.
After the shooting, the relative whose gun the child had found fled the scene with the weapon, but later returned and was detained. The 21-year-old suspect has been charged with evidence tampering.
According to Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy organization, 765 people have been killed and over 1,500 have been injured from 2015-2020 in "unintentional shootings" by children. And as many as 111 people have been killed this year alone. The group calls such shootings "a heartbreaking part of America's gun violence epidemic."
"Every year, hundreds of children in the United States gain access to unsecured, loaded guns in closets and nightstand drawers, in backpacks and purses, or just left out," the group said on its website. "With tragic regularity, children find these unsecured guns and unintentionally shoot (themselves) or someone else."
The US Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms and 30 percent of American adults own at least one gun. Each year, about 40,000 die here due to gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a web site that tracks gun deaths.