Police are investigating the death of a 2-year-old boy after he apparently found an unsecured gun inside of a TV stand and fired it inside of a home Wednesday morning.
Police say the boy was home with his father at the time of the shooting, and found a loaded gun inside of a TV stand in the living room. The boy shot himself, and the father called 911 immediately afterward.
A woman who lives next door to the family says she heard the shot, and the immediate aftermath.
“When we went in the back, I heard a man screaming inside the house,” she said.
The woman believes the man screaming was the boy’s father. She says that she saw the two of them together frequently.
“Every morning he’d be walking with his son and their dog,” she said. “He’s a good daddy. I’ve seen nothing bad.”
Joliet Police Lieutenant Joe Egizio says that the boy’s father was instructed to move the child to a hard-surface, a standard practice in emergency protocols.
“They were both in the living room area he was attending to something that drew the father’s attention away from the infant for a short amount of time,” he said.
Investigators didn’t say how long the boy had the gun before it went off. The boy was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Amita Hospital.
“It breaks my heart. They need to lock those guns up, put them safety lock on them guns,” said Joliet resident Vanessa Eskridge. “If you’re not going to be careful with it, lock it up.”
Eskridge stopped by the scene after seeing the police activity and said her prayers go out to the family.
Meanwhile, police are reminding parents to be extra careful if a gun is present at home.
“I can attest as a parent, my colleagues up here, things will go bad in a split second you have to be conscious of where you place your firearms if you own them,” he said. “Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen quick. I’m not judging an individual’s decisions. We’re here to do our job, which we have to investigate the unfortunate situation that happened this morning.”