A 10-year-old autistic child accidently shot himself in South Lake Tahoe on Thursday after retrieving a gun from the glove box of his grandfather’s vehicle, authorities said.
The bullet struck the little finger of the boy’s right hand. He sustained serious damage to his finger, but the injury was not life threatening, authorities confirmed Friday.
The boy shot himself with his grandfather’s fully loaded gun, according to police. At the time, it was stored in a glove box with no locking mechanism.
The grandfather, a California peace officer from out of the area, is lawfully authorized to carry a loaded firearm inside the vehicle. However, he was not inside the vehicle when the child discharged the firearm.
Before the incident, the boy had been sitting in the back seat of the truck, parked at the Staples parking lot, when his grandfather got out to walk their dog in the immediate area, according to a city press release.
The child, without being noticed, moved into the front seat and retrieved the gun while his grandfather stood outside. He accidentally discharged the firearm as his grandmother returned to the vehicle from inside the store, police said.
After the gunshot, the child exited the truck and held his hand up where his grandparents could see his injured finger. Police and medic personnel were dispatched at 4:10 p.m.
Arriving officers secured the weapon as evidence and are submitting their investigation to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office for review and disposition concerning the possible filing of criminal charges for child endangerment, authorities said.
To help protect the identity of the child, SLTPD is not releasing the names of the grandparents at this time.