ST. LOUIS – A two-year-old died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head Wednesday afternoon in north St. Louis.

The police arrived at the 900 block of Melvin Drive around 1 p.m. where they found the toddler barely conscious and breathing.

“They conveyed him in the police Tahoe because the estimated arrival time of the ambulance was going to be too great. The child was labored in his breathing,” said Chief Michael Sack, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. “It was just a matter of snatching up this child who was bleeding profusely.”

The child, unfortunately, died before reaching reach the hospital.

“It’s terrible that kids sometimes pay the price for a parent’s poor choice,” Sack said.

“The children will tell us ‘Oh yeah, I see guns all the time,”’ said Lise Bernstein, a member of the Women’s Voices Raised For Social Justice “We all like to think well this will never happen to me, I put the gun up high. My child will never find it. It’s well-hidden. It’s in a dresser but people know kids are curious.”

As a grandmother and gun safety advocate with the program “Lock it For Love,” Bernstein said she understands the long-lasting effects it caused on a family.

“The trauma the family experiences never goes away,” Bernstein said.

Fire officials have free locks to provide for residents at every station.

“Just run it through, lock, bam, and the gun won’t fire, it’s very simple,” said Leon Whitener, captain of the St. Louis Fire Department.

Whitener said the tragedy hits home for many firefighters at the station.

“We have to provide first aid and medical care for these children. A lot of us have children, so it hits home, very hard for us,” he said. “So, this is something we want to prevent from happening, if we could stop it altogether that would be the best-case scenario.”

St. Louis Alderwoman Pamela Boyd is trying to curb the gun violence she sees in her ward and beyond.

“We’re not just losing one or two, we’re losing generations,” Boyd said.

Boyd had started a campaign with multiple organizations called “Stop, Lock, and Drop It.” There are videos online that can be viewed on social media and at one of their class presentations in schools K-12.

“If you keep saying it somebody is going to pay attention and when they go in and drop the gun, they’ll say you know let me lock it up,” Boyd said. “I want it to stick in their heads.”

The case is under investigation.

If you need a gun lock you can find them throughout the city free of charge. Gun locks can be found at St. Louis city firehouses, libraries, police stations, and Safe Kids St. Louis Coalition from SSM Health.



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