A 3-year-old Louisiana girl died Monday from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot, authorities said.
KBTV News reported deputies from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to the family’s home on Feb. 9 and discovered the injured girl. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A subsequent investigation indicated the girl’s father had been cleaning his guns in the living room that day and left them out when he went to work. When the mother returned home later in the day with her three children, the 3-year-old accidentally shot herself while handling one of the guns, investigators said.
The family has now released the identity of 3-year-old Alexis Mercer and announced funeral arrangements to the community.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso told KPLC News the tragedy could have been avoided.
“This is a moment as a Sheriff that I have to tell people, you have got to protect our children,” he said.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kim Myers said the dad had left out a rifle and two handguns and investigators believe the girl accidentally shot herself with one of the handguns.
“It makes me angry,” Mancuso said. “It makes my heart hurt. It's just something that shouldn't happen.
“Lock your guns, and keep them out of reach of children,” he added. “They can't do it on their own. They're curious. They're going to go look. They're going to show a friend. If you can't afford a gun safe, every single gun that's sold in America comes with a gun lock. Lock your guns and keep them out of reach of children.”
Myers said the investigation into the shooting has been completed. The case will now be handed over to the District Attorney's Office to determine if any charges will be filed.
The other two children in the home were not injured in the incident, Myers said.
Photo Credit: Family photo via KPLC News, WikiCommons