3-year-old boy in Wash. kills self with gun in car

Mar 14, 2012

Police say a 3-year-old fatally shot himself with a gun, for which his father had a concealed weapons permit, while his family stopped for gas in Tacoma.

It was western Washington's third recent shooting by a child.

Police Officer Naveed Benjamin says the Tacoma-area family stopped at a gas station at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The father put his pistol under the seat and got out to pump gas while the mother went inside the convenience store. They left the boy and an infant daughter in the car. The boy climbed out of his child seat, found the gun and shot himself in the head. He was declared dead at a hospital.

The girl was not injured. Detectives questioned the parents and say the shooting is a tragic accident.

"It is incredible in light of the other ones," said Benjamin. "You would think people would take more care, not less."

Other shootings, according to the Tacoma News Tribune:

  • The 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police officer in Stanwood was shot on Saturday when a sibling found a gun and fired while the parents were out of their car. She died the next day.
  • On Feb. 22, an 8-year-old girl was critically wounded in a Bremerton classroom when a gun fired from the backpack of a 9-year-old boy as he put it on a desk.

Bremerton shooting update from AP:

The 8-year-old Bremerton girl, Amina Kocer-Bowman, remained in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after nearly dying in the accidental shooting at Armin Jahr Elementary, where a classmate brought a handgun to class, according to the AP story in The Seattle Times.

Authorities believe the boy took the .45-caliber gun from the glove compartment of a car while visiting his mother and her boyfriend at their home. He lives with an uncle.

The 9-year-old pleaded guilty last week to reckless endangerment and was sentenced to probation and counseling. He is expected to testify against his mother, Jamie Lee Chaffin, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, who were charged Tuesday with felony assault.

Chaffin and Bauer each could face up to five years in prison if convicted.