Three year-old accidentally shot and killed in Valdosta - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Three year-old accidentally shot and killed in Valdosta

July 17, 2007

Valdosta - A three-year-old boy was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Valdosta and now several college students could be facing charges.  "There was a shooting at 2117 Northwood Circle upon the officers arrivals they discovered a three year old had been shot," says Lt. Bernard Robinson of the Valdosta Police.

Eva Castillo was cleaning the home on Northwood Circle.  Her three-year-old son Steven Bustillos-Ramirez was playing in a bedroom, where a handgun had been left on top of a night stand.  "The child got a hold of the .45-caliber pistol and shot himself in the throat," says Cmdr Brian Childress.

He died just minutes later.  "Right now it looks like the bullet severed the artery there, and the child was dead when we arrived," Childress adds.

Three college students live at the home, now a crime scene.  Police are trying to decide whether to charge anyone who lives in the home with reckless conduct.  "Are we looking at that charge?  Absolutely.  We are examining this case to make a determination if there is a violation of law here.  But we also have to balance it from the standpoint of accidents happen."

But they do say this tragedy could have been avoided if the gun owner had used this simple gun lock.  "They are designed to prevent accidental discharges.  They are for children," Childress says.

The locks are given away for free at the police department, and investigators hope more people will use them to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring in the future. 

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