A 4-year-old Indiana boy who was accidentally shot in the head while play-wrestling with his father has died, authorities said.
Tripp Shaw died Thursday morning as a result of his injuries, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.
Tripp and his 36-year-old father were play-wrestling in their home in Bloomington on Jan. 19 when the man’s concealed handgun slipped from his back and went off, the sheriff’s office said.
The shot struck both of them in the head. The father is expected to recover, according to the sheriff’s office.
One of the family’s next-door neighbors, Kaili Frye, told CNN affiliate WXIN this week that she was stunned to learn what had happened.
“It’s horrifying. It’s heart-wrenching. I can’t even imagine what they are going through,” Frye told WXIN.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t said whether the father will be charged, citing an ongoing investigation.
According to the National Safety Council, accidental and preventable gun deaths make up 1 percent of overall gun-related deaths in the United States. In 2017, there were 486 accidental or preventable gun deaths.
Far fewer Americans fall victim to firearm accidents than some two decades ago, even though people own more guns, according to new data.
Decreased popularity of hunting, improved trauma care, and gun safety education campaigns have likely helped decrease the fatalities.
There has been a prominent push for the safe storage of guns. Gun manufacturers have partnered with law enforcement for a nationwide education drive called “Project ChildSafe” that has distributed over 37 million gun locks. But that project only started in 1999, while the decline in accidental death rates started decades before, dropping about fourfold between 1974 and 1999, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Safety Council nonprofit (pdf).
Gun rights advocate Dave Kopel suggested some of the accidents may have actually been homicides with a perpetrator looking for a defense argument. That may partially explain why accidental deaths declined in near-unison with murders in the 1990s.
Epoch Times reporter Petr Svab contributed to this report.