CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) -- Lonoke County investigators said a 3-year-old child is dead after being shot at a home on Kerr Station Road.
It happened around 3:45 Sunday afternoon. According to Lt. Jim Kulesa, the child was a friend of the family. The toddler reportedly picked up a 9mm automatic handgun, and then it went off. Deputies pronounced the boy dead at the scene.
"You never dream it's going to happen to you, but it can," said Sheriff John Staley of the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office.
Sunday evening, a 3-year-old in Lonoke County was visiting the house of a family friend when he got his hands on a gun.
"The wife comes in, who is hearing impaired," explained Staley. "She was sitting there, she turns around, sees the child, he picked the weapon up and a tragic, very tragic situation occurred."
The 3-year-old shot and killed himself. Several questions arise when a tragic situation like this occurs. If you are a gun owner, what are you responsible for? Are you required to have your guns locked up? THV asked Sheriff Staley.
"I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you please keep it up, keep it secure,"" he answered.
There may not be a law that requires you to have your fire arms locked up, but Staley said gun owners have a legal and moral responsibility when it comes to safety.
"The main tip I can give you is secure your weapon. Keep it up, out of sight, out of the hands of the kids," he continued.
One of those ways you can keep your weapon secure is by using what you call a temporary holding system where you can put your fire arm inside of a box that locks. Once it is locked, the only way you can retrieve your fire arm is by using a key or a touchpad where you enter a code known only by you.
"We take really good precaution in putting the locks on the drawers, locks on the cabinets to keep small children away from chemicals. We've got to do the same thing for fire arms. Fire arms are just as deadly," Staley added.
Kulesa said there is nothing to indicate foul play at this time; the shooting was likely an accident.
The investigation is ongoing, and it will be handed over to the prosecuting attorney to determine if charges should be filed.