A two-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his mother Tuesday at a Walmart store in Idaho after taking a gun from her purse.
Police identified the victim as Veronica Rutledge of Blackfoot, Idaho. The shooting took place in the store in Hayden, Idaho, where she was shopping with her children and other family members.
“Once on scene, deputies found a 29-year-old victim was deceased from an apparent gunshot wound,” Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said in a statement.
“Her son was seated in the shopping cart and accessed the victim’s concealed weapon from her purse and discharged it, striking the victim,” he added, noting that the shooting appeared to be accidental.
Rutledge, who was spending the holidays in the area, had a concealed weapons permit, the sheriff’s office confirmed.
Sheriff’s lieutenant Stu Miller told local television KHQ that in “instances like this, you know I’m a big proponent of a concealed weapon for your own safety. However, you have to be responsible. Unfortunately, in this case, that just wasn’t,” Miller told the station.
“A very sad incident occurred at our store today involving the death of a female customer,” the local Walmart said in a statement.
“We are fully cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies as they investigate this matter.”
KREM television reported that Rutledge was in the store with three other children, which police did not immediately confirm.
The fatal shooting took place in the electronics section of the store, KXLY television reported.
Authorities sent psychologists to help employees needing assistance, it added. The store, which was evacuated, will be closed on Wednesday.