A pregnant woman and her unborn child died last week in the US state of Ohio after her two-year-old son shot her in the back with a handgun left loaded in the house, police said.
Police chief David Smith told local media on Tuesday that 31-year-old Laura Ilg had called 911 on the afternoon of June 16.
“She explained she was 33 weeks pregnant and her two-year-old had accidentally just shot her in the back with a firearm,” Smith said to local ABC affiliate News 5 Cleveland.
Police on Friday arrived quickly at the home in Norwalk, Ohio, and Ilg was rushed to hospital, but her unborn baby could not be saved after an emergency c-section, Smith said.
Ilg died from her injuries hours later, he added.
Early Saturday, the Norwalk Police Department said on its Facebook page that it offered “sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and all those affected by the tragic passing of the young mother and her unborn son.”
Ilg was conscious when police arrived and told officers that her son had somehow gotten into the usually locked bedroom while she was doing laundry and started playing with the gun, according to Smith.
He said police found a Sig Sauer Micro 9mm handgun on a nightstand as well as two other loaded firearms. Ilg’s husband, who was not at home at the time of the incident, said they belonged to him, according to media reports.
The accidental shooting is the latest in a long line of such incidents in the United States, a country of around 330 million people and some 400 million guns.
In March, a three-year-old girl accidentally killed her four-year-old sister with a handgun near Houston, Texas, despite the presence of five adults including their parents in their home.
About 40 percent of US households have guns, according to the Pew Research Center, with most of those also including children.
But less than half of the households with guns store them safely, according to Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health.
Police chief Smith said there had been some safety measures in place at Ilg’s home, but urged gun owners to take precautions.
“Trigger locks, gun safes, there are a million varieties, they’re not that expensive. At the very least, leave them (guns) unloaded,” he told News 5.