OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A 2-year-old St. Cloud boy remained in critical condition Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself outside his family’s Michigan Avenue home.
The child’s family said the boy was riding in his grandfather's truck when the man pulled into the driveway and ran inside the house just after 6 p.m. Monday. He left the child playing with some tools in the back seat, investigators said.
It took only about 15 seconds for 2-year-old Ethan Walker to climb out of the back seat and grab a .32-caliber Kel-Tec gun from the driver's side door pocket, his family said.
The gun was holstered, but the child was somehow able to remove it, they said.
Authorities and family members were not sure if Walker pulled the trigger or if the gun went off on its own.
The bullet went into Walker’s cheek near his eye and back out, authorities said.
The family told Channel 9 reporter Shannon Butler that the toddler was talking and trying to comfort his family while they waited for paramedics to arrive.
Authorities said they will release specifics about the case after their investigation is complete.
“They are talking to individuals that were at the residence, possibly in the residence, and we have forensics out gathering some evidence,” said Twis Lizasuain of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Area residents were stunned and some were outraged that a child could so easily access a gun.
"Anything could be used as a weapon, but a gun, that could be safely locked up somewhere instead of being carried around, in my opinion," neighbor Priya Mahadeo said.
Although the shooting was accidental, St. Cloud allows for charges to be filed if a child gets hold of a gun that isn't appropriately stored out of reach.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office declined to say if any charges could be forthcoming in connection with the shooting.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.