KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Neighbors are praying as police say a toddler was seriously injured after being shot in the stomach Wednesday afternoon.
In their police report, officers say all adults who were in the home at the time were asleep.
The incident happened about 12:24 p.m. at a home near East 38th Street and Chestnut Avenue. In their report, police said a mother called 911 and told them her 3-year-old daughter had shot herself.
When officers walked into the home, they found the mother sitting in the living room holding her daughter. There was a gunshot wound through the daughter’s abdomen.
Police are investigating exactly what happened that led to the little girl named Tariyah Davis being shot.
Police initially said that the little girl accidentally shot herself in the stomach, but detectives say they are looking at all angles, including if it’s possible one of the little girl’s siblings under the age of 5 accidentally shot her.
“She is full of energy. She loves her momma,” family friend Kenneth Lee said.
Lee was shocked to wake up to police officers and commotion saying someone in the house, where he was sleeping, had accidentally been shot.
“I didn’t hear the gunshot or nothing like that. I just saw Essence, she was crying, holding her daughter and the ambulance came and picked her and her daughter up,” Lee said. “They say right now, she’s doing better. They stopped the bleeding, but she may have to be in the hospital for two, three or longer days.”
When interviewing the little girl’s brother, he told police that he had found the gun that morning in the living room, on the fireplace mantel, behind the mirror leaning against the wall. The brother said he took it to the back bedroom and it was then that his little sister shot herself with it.
Police say the little girl is expected to be OK, but has damage to her liver and kidneys.
Authorities say several adults were in the home at the time of the shooting and are being questioned by detectives. Both the mother and Lee were asleep at the time.
“She is a good mother. She has good kids. Situations happen like that all the time. You know you hear about it on the news, ‘keep the guns away from the kid’s reach.’ Like I said, we didn’t even know there was a gun here,” Lee said.
Police said in their written report that they found a Smith and Wesson .38 Special laying on the bed in the back bedroom and it was loaded with five live rounds and one spent shell casing. Officers also said they found another live round in the living room.
The mother told police the gun belongs to her boyfriend, who is the children’s father, but he wasn’t home at the time.
It is a scary situation that forces a reminder that parents can never be too careful when there is a gun in the home with children. That is why OMB Guns in Olathe says they’re required by law to issue a free trigger-lock or cable-lock with each gun that is purchased.
“You can’t be in the same spot all the time, 24/7, and that’s when they can get access to them. That is when we start looking at the cable locks, the trigger locks or cases,” OMB Gun safety trainer John Helfinstine said. “It’s all about what a person is willing to do and how much responsibility they are willing to accept. Everyone is allowed to a reasonable amount of privacy within their home. If they’re not expecting kids to be around, most people are willing to leave a firearm as it lays.”
Locking guns up may be the best way to prevent a child from hurting themselves or others.
OMB Guns says a basic safe costs $25 and goes up to $200.
By Laura McCallister & Jamie Oberg, KCTV