Two-Year-Old Shoots and Kills Mother Inside Walmart
Police in Idaho say a two-year-old boy shot and killed his 29-year-old mother in a Walmart store after finding the weapon in her purse.
The Kootenai county sheriff’s office said Veronica Rutledge was shopping with her son and three other children in the small town of Hayden when the boy, sitting in the front of the shopping cart, found the gun and shot her at about 10.20am local time.
The sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller said Rutledge, who was from Blackfoot in southeastern Idaho, had a concealed weapons permit. She was visiting relatives in the area, he added.
Miller said the young boy had reached into his mother’s purse and grabbed a small caliber handgun, which discharged once. “It appears to be a pretty tragic accident,” he added.
Rutledge’s husband was not in the store when the shooting happened but arrived shortly after the shooting. All the children were taken to a relative’s house.
The victim’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told Associated Press that she “was a beautiful, young, loving mother.”
“She was not the least bit irresponsible,” he said. “She was taken much too soon.”
Rutledge was a nuclear research scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, reported.
The shooting happened near the store’s electronics section. Police reviewed store video to determine the shooting was accidental, the Associated Press and local media reported.
A Walmart spokesperson called the incident “very sad,” and said the store was “fully cooperating with the sheriffs deputies as they investigate this matter”.
The store was closed for the evening but will reopen at 6am Wednesday, according to information provided to the sheriff’s office by store managers.
Hayden is a northern Idaho town of 13,000 people, about 35 miles east of Spokane, Washington.
In November, a woman in Oklahoma was fatally shot by her three-year-old with a semi-automatic handgun. Police said it appeared the child picked up the gun while his mother was changing a one-year-old’s diaper.