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A three-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself with a gun found in the car on a family road trip.
Tacoma police say the family stopped at a gas station in western Washington just after midnight on Wednesday. The child's mother went inside to the convenience store while her boyfriend filled up the tank, leaving her son alone in the car with his young daughter.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the man told police that he put his loaded handgun under the driver's side seat while pumping gas. The boy then got out of his car seat and climbed into the front seat where he found the pistol and shot himself, said police spokesman Naveed Benjamin.
The family's identity has not yet been released by police, but they are believed to live in the area. The boyfriend did have a concealed weapons permit and was legally carrying the gun.
The incident marks the third time in the past few weeks that a Washington child was shot. On Saturday, a 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police was killed when a sibling found a gun and in the car and fired it. And on Feb. 22, an 8-year-old girl from Bremerton was critically wounded in class when a gun went off in the backpack of a 9-year-old boy.
"It's another tragedy in a very short period of time," Benjamin said of Wednesday's shooting. "It is incredible in light of the other ones. You would think people would take more care, not less."
"You can't predict what children are going to do," he added. "You need to unload and lock it up if you're not carrying it and keep it out of the hands of children."
Would you ever keep a gun in your house?