Authorities in the US are investigating the fatal shooting of a woman by her two-year-old son in a Walmart store.
This is a pretty tragic incident that we're dealing with right now. We have small children, young people, the holiday season. It's not a pleasant experience right now
The Sheriff’s office in Hayden, Idaho, says the toddler pulled a loaded pistol from his mother’s purse while being pushed in a shopping cart in the store’s electronics section. The victim was believed to be with her four children.
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Stu Miller said it had come as a big shock to local people. “All the precautionary measures weren’t taken to ensure the safety of that weapon,” he said.
“This is a pretty tragic incident that we’re dealing with right now. We have small children, young people, holiday season. It’s not a pleasant experience right now.”
The victim has been named as 29-year-old Veronica J. Rutledge.
The store has been closed until further notice, while police carry out a scene examination.
“A very sad incident occurred at our store today in Hayden involving the death of a female customer. We are working with the Kootenai Sheriff’s department as they investigate what happened,” said Walmart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.
Hayden is a town of some 10,000 people and is located in Kootenai County, north of Coeur d’Alene.
The death is likely to add to the growing debate about gun control in the US, with a spate of gun deaths across the country in recent weeks.
Figures show Americans are now buying twice as many guns as they did back in 1998.