Alameda toddler playing with gun shoots, kills man

Associated Press

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Police were searching Tuesday for the owner of a .38-caliber handgun a toddler used to fatally shoot a 20-year-old man.

The 3-year-old boy apparently found the revolver in a bedroom closet while his mother fed his 1-year-old sister, and two aunts and a grandmother played cards, police Lt. David Boersma said Tuesday.

When the boy walked into the living room playing with the gun, the adults tried to get him to put it down. But the pistol fired and struck the man, a visitor from Guatemala, in the chest. He was pronounced dead later at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Early evidence indicates it was a “big, tragic accident,” but questions remain, Boersma said.

“I’ve got to tell you, I thought it was completely implausible that a 3-year-old could manipulate a revolver,” he said. “Was he using both hands? Just fooling around with it?”

Boersma said the gun may have been stored with the hammer cocked. It was unregistered and unlocked, he said.

The boy had recently played with a water pistol and may have been familiar with how to operate a gun, Boersma said.

The gun’s owner, who is the victim’s cousin, is now missing, Boersma said.

California law allows prosecutors to file criminal charges against adults when children find guns and shoot and harm somebody.

An interview with the boy wasn’t very helpful, Boersma said. Both English and Spanish are spoken in the home and the boy speaks neither well.

The boy was allowed to stay with his parents. Police believe they weren’t even aware the gun was in the apartment.

Guns don’t kill people…

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