Boy, two, shoots mother dead in US

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Published: Wednesday 31st December 2014 by The News Editor

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A relative of the woman who was accidentally shot and killed by her two-year-old son at a US supermarket says she was a “loving mother”.

The Kootenai County sheriff’s department has identified the victim as 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge, of Blackfoot, Idaho.

S he was shopping yesterday morning with her son when the boy reached into her handbag and grabbed a small-calibre handgun, which discharged once.

The victim’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, says the woman was “taken much too soon”.

The shooting occurred in the Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho, a town about 40 miles north-east of Spokane, Washington.

Sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller said Ms Rutledge was shopping with her son and three other children, and that her family had come to the area to visit relatives.

The victim had a concealed weapons permit, and her son had been left in a shopping trolley when he took hold of the gun.

Deputies who responded to the Wal-Mart found her dead, the sheriff’s office said.

The woman’s husband was not in the store when the shooting happened at about 10.20am local time. He arrived shortly after the shooting, and all the children were taken to a relative’s house.

Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the shooting was a “very sad and tragic accident”.

She said: “We are working closely with the local sheriff’s department while they investigate what happened.”

There do not appear to be reliable national statistics about the number of accidental fatalities involving children handling guns.

In Washington state, a three-year-old boy was seriously injured in November when he was accidentally shot in the face by a four-year-old neighbour.

The boy was wounded as the children played in a home in Lake Stevens, north of Seattle.

In April, a two-year-old boy apparently shot and killed his 11-year-old sister while they and their siblings played with a gun inside a Philadelphia home.

Authorities said the gun was believed to have been brought into the home by the mother’s boyfriend.

Hayden is a politically conservative town of about 9,000 people just north of Coeur d’Alene, in northern Idaho.

Idaho politicians passed legislation earlier this year allowing concealed weapons on the state’s public college and university campuses.

Despite facing opposition from all eight of the state’s university college presidents, they sided with gun rights advocates who said the law would better uphold the Constitution.

Under the law, gun holders are barred from bringing their weapons into dormitories or buildings that hold more than 1,000 people, such as stadiums or concert halls.

Published: Wednesday 31st December 2014 by The News Editor

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