Texas Toddler Dies After 'Accidentally' Shooting Himself in the Head With Family Member's Gun: Police

A 2-year-old boy died Wednesday after discovering a gun in his family member's backpack and accidentally shooting himself, according to Waco Police

Crime Scene
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A Texas toddler has tragically died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a gun that belonged to a family member, according to police.

On Wednesday, at around 6 p.m., officials with the Waco Police Department were called to an apartment complex on reports of a "possible shooting," according to a news release posted on the law enforcement agency's Facebook. When they arrived to the scene, police discovered a 2-year-old boy, who had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

The young child was immediately transported to Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-Hillcrest Hospital. He later died, according to police.

While investigating the scene, authorities learned that the toddler had "located the firearm in a backpack belonging to an adult family," the news release states. "At this time, it is believed that the victim may have accidentally shot himself with the firearm after finding it."

After the horrific incident, police say the adult — who the weapon belonged to — "fled the scene." The individual, 21, later returned and was taken into custody and charged with tampering with physical evidence.

The identity of the suspect has not been revealed to the public. The victim's name will not be released at this time due to his age, police say.

Waco Police Department did not provide any additional details when contacted by PEOPLE. An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Wednesday's tragic toddler death comes after last year's "alarming" spike in unintentional shootings by children, per CBS News. In 2020, Everytown for Gun Safety reported that there were at least 369 unintentional shootings by children nationally, which resulted in 142 deaths and 242 injuries.

"Adults can't count on children to 'know better' and not touch firearms," Sarah Burd-Sharps, research director for Everytown for Gun Safety, told CBS at the time.

About 1,300 children under 18 die from shootings each year, according to Nationwide Children's Hospital, which reports that 1 in 3 American families with children have at least one gun in their home, resulting in an estimated "more than 22 million children living in homes with guns."

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