GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Police say a 13-year-old managed to unlock a gun safe, and get a weapon that a 3-year-old later used to shoot and kill himself.
Chief Ted Sauls spoke to the media this afternoon about the tragedy that happened Friday night at Wildwood Villas on Beech Street in Greenville.
The chief says they do not anticipate any charges against the adults who were in the apartment at the time.
Under North Carolina law (14-315.1.), guns are supposed to be kept out of the reach of children.
Sauls says after unlocking the safe, the 13-year-old left the weapon in an unsecured spot and Kayden Swinnely grabbed it. Swinnely shot himself, according to police, and he later died at ECU Health Medical Center.
“Many people have asked, what more could have been done to prevent something like this from happening? I would say under these circumstances, the weapon was properly secured by the letter of the law…. I would say in this case, steps were taken to do just that,” Sauls said.
The chief said the two children, the victim’s aunt, and his mother were there at the time. He said the mother had just arrived at the apartment when the shooting happened.
This is the second child death in a month in Eastern Carolina. On January 14 in Lenoir County, a 3-year-old boy was killed after he shot himself with an unsecured and loaded handgun. Deputies charged Clarence Byrd III, 29, with involuntary manslaughter and negligent child abuse in that case.
“Discuss firearm safety with your children if you choose to have a firearm present in your home…You must talk to your youth about what makes them dangerous. The presence does not make it dangerous, but what it can do does make it dangerous,” Sauls said.