The 1-year-old son of a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employee was shot dead on Wednesday in the town of Chowchilla.
According to ABC News, the boy was accidentally shot by his sister, who had somehow gained access to a gun belonging to their mother Erica Bautisa.
Bautisa is a 16-year corrections veteran, but may face charges related to the incident.
“Well anytime a child gets a hold of firearm, and there’s some sort of a negligent discharge, it’s a criminal matter,” said Lt. Jeff Palmer of the Chowchilla Police Department to ABC Channel 30.
Police received a call for help around 5 p.m. on Wednesday and responded to Bautisa’s residence. There they found her 1-year-old suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
Paramedics rushed the boy to Valley Children’s Hospital but medical staff were unable to save him.
Detectives told ABC that Bautisa was home at the time of the accident. The gun involved was registered to Bautisa but not her duty weapon. Police suspect it was improperly stored.
“Firearms are not something to be taken for granted, don’t leave them loaded, and absolutely don’t leave them in an area a child can get its hands on it,” said Lt. Palmer.
Neighbor Kathy Scott said she was shocked and saddened by the news, but she wonders why the gun was not properly secured with children in the home.
“Keep it locked up, like the way they tell you when you buy it,” Scott said.
Officers reportedly met with the district attorney’s office on Thursday in the process of determining whether charges will be brought.
Watch video about this story, embedded below: