Police: Boy, 7, kills father in accidental shooting - WNEM TV 5

Police: Boy, 7, kills father in accidental shooting

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM

Police are investigating after they said a 7-year-old boy accidentally shot his father.

Officers with the Alma Police Department were called to the south side of the city on Prithee Street about 12:13 a.m. Friday.

Investigators said the boy removed the “high powered rifle” from a locked case after finding the keys while the family was asleep in the home.

The boy accidentally shot his father, police said. The man died from his injuries.

"They had caution tape up and I saw three cops there," said Trevor Connors, neighbor.

Connors didn't know it at the time, but the tape and police were the result of a horrific situation.

"I'm sorry to hear everything. It's a real tough time," Connors said.

Police have not released the name of the family, but neighbors said the family moved in less than a year ago.

"I was really freaked out and said about it," said Ellie Martin, neighbor.

The 14-year-old girl said she saw the boy at the playground where many of the neighborhood kids play. She didn't know him well, but when she found out what happened she felt for the family.

"I'm not a religious person, but like, I prayed that everyone OK. We don't have a lot of that around here," Ellie said.

She said she has trouble comprehending how something like that could happen just down the street.

"Just, I hope things get better for them. Not that there's any way of getting back up from that, but just so they can work through it and be OK," Ellie said.

Connors questions how a child would be able to gain access to such a powerful gun.

"I think they didn't have the firearm in safekeeping. If I had a firearm in my home, there's no way my 7-year-old would get it. I have a 7-year-old daughter, so that kind of makes me think a lot," he said. "I ain't trying to put the blame on anyone, but if a 7-year-old can get their hands on a firearm they need to realize that it's not legal."

The situation is a familiar one for Doug Williams, owner of Dick Williams Gun Shop.

"We hear this on a weekly basis around the state and we want to keep children and people safe," he said.

Williams said there are many different ways to keep your guns out of the wrong hands, which is vitally important.

"A simple cable lock that can be taken and used on a simple handgun, a semi-automatic handgun, also on a revolver," Williams said.

He said for every gun he sells he also gives the buyer a gun lock. He also sells locks that cover the trigger of rifles so they can't be fired.

In the Alma situation, it's not clear if the shotgun had a lock on it. It was in a gun safe and police said the child found the key to that safe.

Williams said families need to hide the keys somewhere a child can't access.

Also, other types of safes that use combinations are safer to use.

"As a gun owner it's your responsibility to have it locked up in a safe place at home," Williams said.

Connor said he feels terrible for the Alma family, but said this should be a reminder to people to keep their guns locked up and out of reach of children.

"I mean, you have to take the right precautions. There are laws with firearms. How to keep them safely kept and obviously that wasn't safely kept," Connor said.

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