Boy, 3, who accidentally killed himself at DeLand home found gun in bedside table

DELAND, Fla. — A family continued to grieve Thursday after a 3-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself in DeLand.


The shooting happened Wednesday night at the family’s Nectarine Road home.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said the boy was at home with his 8-year-old brother and 16-year-old sister while their parents went to the store.

Deputies said that at some point, the boy wandered into his parents’ bedroom and found a gun in a bedside table.

Read: Sheriff: 3-year-old boy dies after shooting himself at DeLand home

The gun was one of two in the house.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said that the child’s father is a state corrections officer at Tomoka Correctional Facility, but the gun involved in the shooting was not issued by the Florida Department of Corrections.

During a news conference Thursday, Chitwood reminded gunowners to use mechanisms to secure their weapons and to prioritize safe gun storage.

Read: ‘One of the worst calls imaginable’: 3-year-old boy dies after shooting himself at DeLand home

“This should never have happened,” he said. “This should not have happened. We should not be standing here having this conversation.”

Chitwood said there was also a safe, but it did not appear to be working, and nothing was stored in it.

The sheriff said every family with guns in their home should take a second to ensure a child could never reach one.

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“I would like to have them hear that 911 call,” Chitwood said. “The 16-year-old (was) saying, ‘My brother shot himself, and he’s not breathing.’ And I think if you heard that, you’d run out right now and buy a gun safe.”

Chitwood said the Florida Department of Children and Families is supervising the family.

It is unclear if the toddler’s parents will be charged.

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