After toddler shooting death, local gun instructor gives safety recommendations

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 21, 2016) -- While IMPD continues its investigation into the shooting death of a toddler on the northwest side, a local gun instructor gives safety suggestions for gun owners.

IMPD officials believe a 2-year-old grabbed a gun out of his mother’s purse Wednesday night while she stepped away. He then shot and killed himself.

Indy Arms Company junior instructor Zach Rogers says he hopes to never hear another story of a child shooting and killing themselves or others. But he says he knows he probably will, unless more people are educated about how to keep guns out of kids’ hands.

Rogers says people often believe their guns are out of reach and forget how strong their kids are, a point IMPD Chief Troy Riggs drove home today.

“It’s hard to believe that this could potentially occur to such a young person,” Riggs said. “And I did not realize that this could occur until I had a gun safety class and they showed demonstrations of what young children can do with weapons. It’s remarkably scary, I will be quite frank. Never underestimate a child’s ability to fire a weapon no matter how young they are.”

Rogers says adults must remember that if their gun is not secure on their body, it should be hidden and locked away from kids.

“Kids are mischievous, “ Rogers said. “If you think it’s out of your child’s reach, he’ll prove you wrong. So you always want to have it locked up and hidden. That way if they do get to it, it’s at least in some kind of secure safe.”

Rogers recommends gun owners buy fingerprint scanning safes. They won’t open without the right fingerprint, so even if a kid finds it, there’s no way for them to access the gun inside.

He believes most accidents, especially with kids, happen because people get too comfortable in their homes and trust themselves too much.

“When they sit down and think about it, if you think, ‘Would I allow my kid to go to this person’s home if I knew their handgun was on the kitchen table?’, the answer is almost definitely not,” Rogers said.

Rogers says people should never believe their unsecured gun is safe because they’re keeping an eye on their kids. He reiterated that it only takes a second for a child to pull the trigger and change their life and their family’s life forever.

As for the 2-year-old killed Wednesday night, an IMPD spokesperson says the mother in this incident cooperated during questioning last night and was released.

IMPD will present its findings to the prosecutor’s office once the investigation is complete. It’s then up to the prosecutor to decide whether to press charges.