An Arkansas couple has been charged with manslaughter after their 2-year-year old son accidentally shot himself with a .45 caliber pistol and died of a wound to his head, authorities said on Tuesday.
The parents, Phillip and Tabitha Ashley, 27 and 23 respectively, were arrested on Monday. Local media said the couple left a loaded gun unattended in the house.
Police declined to release any details but said additional charges are possible. The two, who are being held without bond in jail, have not commented on the incident.
The shooting of their son, who was not named by police, occurred on Nov. 17 at the couples’ home in Benton, Arkansas. The child was rushed to a hospital in nearby Little Rock but died of his injury.
The toddler was the second child to die in Arkansas of an accidental gunshot in as many days.
Eron Burks, aged 6, was killed as he was handling a pistol in a car driven by an aunt.
The woman, Kenya Brevard, 38, was charged by Little Rock police with manslaughter and with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“There’s a constitutional right to own firearms but obviously there’s a lot that needs to be done regarding gun safety,” Little Rock Police spokesman Richard Hilgeman said on Tuesday.
“Gun owners need to educate themselves but they also need to educate their children.”
(Reporting by Steve Barnes; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Cynthia Osterman)