Last weekend, the police in Florida said a young boy, 8, who was playing with his father’s gun fatally shot a year old baby dead and injured her toddler sister.
According to Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons, the father, 45-year-old Roderick Randall, was arrested and charged with concealing evidence, unlawful possession of a firearm, and culpable negligence.
The tragedy, which is all too common in a nation where guns abound, happened in a motel where Randall met his girlfriend. Randall had a criminal record that prohibited him from owning a gun.
His girlfriend had brought her two-year-old twins and her one-year-old daughter, while he had brought his son.
During a press conference, the sheriff revealed that at one point Randall left his weapon “in the closet” and went outside.
While the girls’ mother was asleep, his son discovered where it was hidden, pulled it out, and began playing with it.
“He pulls the gun from the holster, starts playing with it and fires a round into the one-year-old toddler, ultimately killing the one year old. The bullet then goes through and strikes one of the two year old toddlers who’s injured but is expected to recover.”
When the father returned, he reportedly took the gun and an unidentified substance that may have been drugs, out of the room before the police arrived.
The baby girl’s death is the most recent in a horrifying string of incidents.
According to a recent report by Everytown For Gun Safety, “hundreds of children in the United States gain access to unsecured, loaded firearms in closets and nightstand drawers, in backpacks and handbags, or just left out.”
“With tragic regularity, children find these unsecured guns and unintentionally shoot themself or someone else.”
According to the group, which supports tighter gun control laws, these “unintentional shootings” by children result in an average of about 350 death in a year.
More generally, according to the website Gun Violence Archive, firearms are responsible for about 40,000 deaths annually in the United States, including suicides.