A 7-year-old boy was killed by accidentally shooting himself in Concord, Alabama on New Year’s Day.
Deputies who responded to a home in western Jefferson County, about 15 miles southwest of Birmingham, determined that the boy was handling the gun in a bedroom when it discharged and struck him.
Sgt. Jack Self of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said that investigators believe the 7-year-old had shot himself. The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Trenton Levi Thomas.
“He had been handling a gun in a bedroom when it discharged and he was struck,” Self said. “Detectives have determined that this was a tragic accident.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the young victim as they face the difficult days ahead,” Self said.
The victim was taken to Children’s of Alabama with critical injuries. He was pronounced dead there at 9:53 p.m.
Thomas lived in the McCalla area and was a first grader at Greenwood Elementary.
“Just a sweet little boy, and everyone who met Levi loved him too,” said Dr. Gayle Gober, principal. “I spoke with his teacher this morning, and she said that he was always talking about how he wanted to be a race car Nascar driver when he grew up.”
Trenton was the second child in Alabama killed under similar circumstances in just four days.
On Thursday, a 4-year-old boy was killed in Brierfield, Alabama, when he also accidentally shot himself in the face, according to Bibb County District Attorney Michael Jackson.
Alabama is not among the 27 states with laws that punish adults if children access their guns, according to the Giffords Law Center.
Gun accidents kill at least one child every other day, according to an Associated Press and USA TODAY Network study.
“Curious toddlers find unsecured, loaded handguns in their homes and vehicles, and fatally shoot themselves and others,” said the report. “Teenagers, often showing off guns to their friends and siblings, end up shooting them instead.”
Among the other findings:
- Deaths and injuries spike for children under 5, with 3-year-olds the most common shooters and victims among young children. Nearly 90 3-year-olds were killed or injured in the shootings, the vast majority of which were self-inflicted.
- Accidental shootings spike again for ages 15-17, when victims are most often fatally shot by other children but typically survive self-inflicted gunshots.
- They most often happen at the children’s homes, with handguns legally owned by adults for self-protection. They are more likely to occur on weekends or around holidays such as Christmas.
- States in the Deep South, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia, are among those with the highest per capita rates of accidental shootings involving minors.
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