Toddler (3) shoots father and pregnant mother with handgun found in purse
A 3-year-old boy in New Mexico has shot and wounded his father and pregnant mother.
Both parents were taken to hospital after the child is believed to have fired a single shot that went through his father's buttocks and into his mother's shoulder.
The family were staying in a motel room in New Mexico when the boy went looking for an iPad in his mother's purse. Instead he found a loaded 9mm handgun.
What happened next is unclear but local police believe the 3-year-old fired a shot that went through his father's lower backside before striking his pregnant woman in the shoulder.
The father has since been released, but the mother, who is eight months pregnant, remains in hospital. Her condition is believed to be stable, however the condition of her unborn baby is unknown.
The handgun was purchased the day before by the mother as, according to local police, the boy's father is not legally allowed to have a firearm because he has a felony conviction.
Read more: Boy (2) accidentally shoots 'loving' mother dead in US
The family, including a 2-year-old girl and the children's grandmother, had been living in the motel for about a week with their two pit bulls when the incident occurred.
The 2-year-old was present when her brother shot their parents.
The couple could now face felony negligence charges according to Albuquerque Police Department Officer Simon Drobik, who added that the child would not face criminal charges.
"On the kid's side, it's a horrible accident that happened, but the parents are still culpable," Drobik said. "They should have secured the gun."
Following the shooting, the children were placed with child protective services for at least 48 hours. The dogs were taken by animal control staff.
Robb Robillard, who was staying at the motel when the shooting occurred, said that it was “scary” a 3-year-old was the culprit.
“I think everybody should have the right to own guns, but you need a lock on them too, especially when kids are around,” he added.
The case is strikingly similar to a shooting in December last year, when a woman, 29, was fatally shot by her 2-year-old son in an Idaho Walmart, after he found a gun in his mother's handbag.