JOLIET, Ill. — A 2-year-old is dead after a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Joliet police.
The shooting was accidental, authorities added.
Police said officers were called to a home in the 200 block of South Eastern Avenue around just before 9 a.m. Wednesday after the shooting.
The 2-year-old boy was inside the home with his dad when he found a loaded gun inside a TV stand in the living room, according to police. The child shot himself in the head and his father made the emergency call, police said.
The father moved the boy to the kitchen table, under the direction of dispatchers, to be on a hard surface per protocol.
“When the father called 911, he explained the toddler was on the couch,” said lead investigator Lt. Joe Egizio. “It’s common practice that dispatchers trained in life-saving measures use a hard surface, so he put him on the kitchen table.”
Arriving first responders attempted to save the boy’s life, police added. The boy was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph Medical Center. He later died from injuries sustained in the accidental shooting.
The father’s gun was legally-registered, police stated. No charges are pending at this time.
“The men and women of the Joliet PD want to extend condolences to the family of this child,” said Joliet police spokesperson Sgt. Dwayne English. “This does remain under investigation. At this point, it’s being investigated as an accidental death and tragic, tragic accident.”
Maria Quintero, a neighbor, told WGN that she saw the toddler often with his dad outside but did not realize anything was wrong until she saw a heavy police presence and heard screams from nearby.
“Me seeing the dad walking with the baby in the morning, I went and lay down because [I had to work],” she said. “Then the police knocked on the door and I didn’t see but I [heard] screaming and pain inside the house.”
According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, nearly 1,300 children die from guns in America each year. Joliet police used this incident to remind residents who legally possess guns to store them away properly and out of reach of children.
“I, as a police officer and firearm owner, have to make that conscious decision every night,” Egizio said, “but again, bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen quick.”