Indiana 4-year-old finds gun, fatally shoots self

4-year-old Eric Cole, of Wheatfield, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Family provided photo)

Police in Indiana say a 4-year-old boy fatally shot himself with a gun he found at a babysitter’s house.

Eric Cole, of Wheatfield, died from a gunshot wound Saturday afternoon, according to the Lake County Coroner’s office.
Lake County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Mark Back says the boy located a handgun in a case under a bed in a bedroom of a Crown Point home Saturday morning. Police responded to the home at about 10:50 a.m.
He says the boy was able to open the case and handled the firearm, firing a single round that struck him.
Back says investigators don’t expect charges to be filed although the case is being investigated.
It “appears to be an accident,” Back said. ¬†Cole was pronounced dead at 12:06 p.m. at Franciscan Health in Crown Point.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the department’s Crime Investigations Unit are investigating.
Investigators do not expect charges to be filed, Back said. Additional details will be released as they become available, Back said.
A web page has been set up to collect funds for the child’s funeral at https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-eric-cole
“Eric was such a spunky, energetic, loving little boy that was taken from this world and family too soon,” said Kiki Eich Podkul, the child’s aunt. ¬†“He was such a great little brother-son-grandson-nephew and was such a good cousin to Madalyn.”
“This is the hardest thing our family has to go through and we are just asking for any help that you are able to give, whether its a donation/prayers for the family/ meals to his parents Kandi and Ron,” said Podkul. “Its with a heavy heart that I am writing this and just hope we all have the strength to come through this without seeing his smiling face everyday. “

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