A 3-year-old boy has died after what apparently was an accidental shooting in a home in the 500 block of East Lincoln on Tuesday afternoon, Wichita police said.
Police said they believe the mother and her boyfriend were sleeping in the house when the 3-year-old located a handgun and accidentally shot himself in the chest, Lt. Dennis Wilson said.
It was the second time in three months that a Wichita child was shot to death at home. On April 30, a 19-month old boy died shortly after being shot in the chest after three young children found a gun.
On Tuesday, the mother and boyfriend woke up when the shot was fired around 5 p.m. and called 911.
Four children – ages 3, 6, 7 and 8 – were in the house at the time, Wilson said.
The boy was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m., Wilson said. The boy’s mother was with him when he died.
No arrests have been made, police said. The boyfriend was still in custody answering police questions nearly two hours after the shooting
“My advice to parents is to lock up any type of firearm,” Wilson said.
He said police were investigating who owned the gun.
“That’s what we’re trying to determine: Who the gun belongs to,” he said.
The other three children remained with detectives, he said.
Shortly after the shooting, a man in a purple shirt ran up to the house and said, “That’s my son who got shot. Is he alive?”
The man was taken to a nearby police cruiser, which departed eastbound from the scene.
Susan LaMont, who lives across the alley from the boy’s family, said she had often seen the boy and the other children outside playing on their kid bikes.
She characterized the 3-year-old boy who died as “a charmer. He’s a happy-go-lucky kid. He’s got that 3-year-old energy. And it just breaks my heart.”
LaMont said she had never seen any sign of firearms on the property.
“Why there was a loaded gun in the house, I have no idea,” she said.
LaMont said she did not hear a gunshot, “but my boyfriend said he heard a girl scream.”
“I was fine until I (saw him) pulled out on a stretcher,” LaMont said.
Her thoughts then turned to the little boy’s mother.
“As a mom myself, I can only imagine,” LaMont said. “My heart goes out to her.”
In the April shooting, three children – ages 3, 4 and 19 months – found a handgun stored in a nightstand at a house in the 1300 block of North Pennsylvania.
The 4-year-old pulled the trigger, and the bullet struck his younger brother, according to police. The 33-year-old father of the children and his brother were in another room at the time.