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3-Year-Old Boy in Ohio Fatally Shoots Himself While Playing With Mother’s Handgun

Authorities say the boy found the gun in his mother’s purse, and the local prosecutor reportedly plans to take the case to a grand jury.
June 12, 2015, 11:15pm
Photo by Emily Stanchfield/Flickr

Authorities say a 3-year-old Ohio boy fatally shot himself on Friday with a handgun he found in his mother's purse.

The boy, Marques Green, was playing with the gun when he reportedly shot himself in the chest.

Hamilton police released the audio of the boy's mother, Elizabeth Green, calling 911. "My son just shot himself, and I'm not getting a pulse," she screams. "Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I'm not getting a pulse… I don't think he's alive!"

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Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said he plans to take the case to a grand jury. Jurors will decide whether charges should be filed against the mother after they hear evidence about how the child obtained the weapon.

The case appears to be the second accidental gunshot death of a young person this week in Hamilton, a city of 62,000 about 30 miles north of Cincinnati.

Related: A Three-Year-Old Boy Accidentally Shot Both His Parents with One Bullet

Hundreds of similar cases of accidental deaths have been reported throughout the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 311 children under age 14 were victims in unintentional shootings from 2007-2011. Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control, says there are likely even more cases.

At least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings from December 2012 to December 2013, according to Everytown. Two-thirds of these deaths occurred in the victim's family home or vehicle, with guns that were legally owned but not secured, the report found. The organization says one-third of American children live in homes with firearms, and 43 percent of those homes have at least one unlocked firearm.

Anti-gun control groups have touted an overall decline in the number of unintentional firearm-related fatalities. National Safety Council data shows the fatalities have decreased by 58 percent over the past two decades.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have child access prevention laws, which hold owners criminally liable to varying degrees if children access their guns. There is no law in Ohio that specifically deals with adults who allow children access to guns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo by Emily Stanchfield/Flickr