Saturday, December 22, 2007

Put the damn guns in a safe place

Yes, I have guns in the house;

They are in a place that I can get to them and the kids leave them alone, they are older. When they were younger they were put away where they couldn't get at them. This is just a terrible and needless tragedy. Please put your weapons away from the children.

3-year-old fatally shoots himself

Josh Baugh: Express-News

A 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself Friday afternoon after finding a loaded weapon at the Southwest Side home where he lived with several relatives, officials said.
While other children played video games nearby, Gerald Miranda found the gun and shot himself in the chest, near his heart, said a neighbor who rushed across the street to help the family.

Julian "J" Suarez said he was taking out the trash after lunch on Friday when he heard a child yell for help.

"I was coming out to catch the garbage man. The neighbor came running over, saying his brother had shot himself," said Suarez, adding he immediately called 911. "I went inside [their] house to check the baby and the mom was holding him."

Police released very few details about the 1:30 p.m. shooting, which they said they are investigating as an accident, including whether any adults were in the room when Gerald grabbed the gun. His was the 11th violent death of a child this year in San Antonio and comes on the heels of last week's three deaths of children police said were killed by their parents.
According to the Texas Penal Code, it is against the law to leave a loaded gun where a child can reach it.

"We're looking at how accessible the firearm was to the child," said Joe Rios, a police spokesman. "At this point in the investigation, no charges have been filed, but it's still early... The family obviously is in a traumatic situation right now."

"On this one," Rios continued, "everybody lost, no matter what."

Across the state, people have faced charges after authorities found they had left guns within easy reach of their children. In 2003, for example, a Houston police officer and his wife were indicted on felony charges of child endangerment after their 7-year-old daughter fatally shot herself with a handgun in their home.

Although police said very little about Friday's incident, Suarez and other residents of the 2500 block of Big John Drive said Gerald was in the same room with several other children when he apparently grabbed the gun. It was not known Friday where the boy's mother and father were at the time of the shooting.

Moments after calling 911, Suarez, worried that paramedics would not arrive quickly enough, put the boy and his mother into his pickup and drove to the nearby Southwest General Hospital. From there, Suarez said, Gerald was flown by helicopter to University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

"The baby didn't look like he was in very good shape, but we hoped for the best," Suarez said.
Crime-scene investigators remained at the house for several hours after the incident, neighbors said. By late afternoon, the street had largely returned to normal. The victim's house looked much like the others on the block. Christmas lights dangled from the roof, and white-and-red tinsel garland were spiraled around red metal bars over the windows.

Suarez and another neighbor, Toni Sanchez, said the neighborhood was buzzing a bit more than

normal on Friday, but attributed it more to the last day of school than the shooting. More than a dozen neighbors milled about on their front yards. Some talked to the media while others played basketball in the street and bought popsicles from the ice cream vendor parked nearby.
"I just feel fortunate that we were able to help," Suarez said. "It was just a shock. It all happened so fast."