A Walmart store in northern Idaho was the scene of the latest tragedy in a spate of accidental killings on Tuesday, when a toddler shot and killed his mother with the gun she was carrying in her purse, authorities said.
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Stu Miller said that the woman, whose identity was not released, was shopping at a Walmart in a suburb of Coeur d’Alene with four children in tow. Authorities confirmed that the 2-year-old boy was the woman's son, but it was not clear how she was related to the other children.
"One of the children, a boy about 2 years old, reached into the woman’s purse at about 11:15 a.m., and the weapon accidentally discharged," Miller told reporters.
The woman had a concealed weapons permit, and Miller noted on Twitter that a preliminary investigation “shows shooting was accidental. 1 female victim, late 20s, is deceased."
The fatal shooting is only the latest in a succession of accidental killings this year. Last month a 3-year-old boy reportedly shot and killed his mother while she changed his sister’s diaper. A 12-year-old boy accidentally shot his 9-year-old sister in Newark, New Jersey with what was reportedly a stolen handgun.
In April a 3-year-old girl shot and killed her 2-year-old brother with a .22 caliber rifle in Utah. That same month a 2-year-old boy shot and killed his 11-year-old sister with a handgun he apparently believed was a toy.
The accidental shooting death of a gun instructor in August by a 9-year-old girl during a demonstration of a submachine gun reignited debate about gun safety and whether children should be allowed anywhere near them.
The action group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have long called for a “national discussion about children and guns” and stated after the August incident that they were urging the members and the public to find new ways to act against gun violence in the coming year.