According to Ohio authorities, a pregnant mother and her unborn child died last week when her 2-year-old son got hold of a revolver and shot her in the back.
On Tuesday, Police Chief David Smith told local media that 31-year-old Laura Ilg dialed 911 on the afternoon of June 16.
“She explained she was 33 weeks pregnant, and her two-year-old had just accidentally shot her in the back with a firearm,” Smith told local ABC affiliate News 5 Cleveland.
Police responded swiftly to the home in Norwalk, Ohio, on Friday, and Ilg was brought to the hospital, but her unborn baby could not be rescued following an emergency c-section, according to Smith. Ilg passed away.
He stated that she died from her injuries hours later.
On its Facebook page early Saturday, the Norwalk Police Department expressed “sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and all those affected by the tragic passing of the young mother and her unborn son.”
According to Smith, Ilg was conscious when police arrived and informed officers that her son had somehow snuck into the normally closed bedroom while she was doing laundry and begun playing with the rifle.
He stated that authorities discovered a Sig Sauer Micro 9mm handgun, as well as two other loaded guns, on a nightstand. According to media accounts, Ilg's husband, who was not at home at the time of the incident, claimed ownership of the items.
The unintentional shooting is The latest in a long line of such tragedies in the United States, a country of around 330 million people and approximately 400 million firearms.
In March, despite the presence of five adults, including their parents, in their home, a three-year-old girl inadvertently killed her four-year-old sister with a firearm outside Houston, Texas.
According to the Pew Research Center, over 40% of US homes have weapons, with the majority of those households comprising children.
According to Johns Hopkins University's School of Public Health, however, less than half of gun-owning households store their weapons safely.
Police Chief Smith stated that certain safety measures were in place at Ilg's home, but he urged gun owners to exercise cautious.
“There are a million different kinds of trigger locks and gun safes.”