Police say an Ohio officer’s 2-year-old son died after shooting himself with his father’s gun Friday morning.
Officers responded to a home in Cleveland about 10:30 a.m., the Associated Press reported. The child died at a hospital, according to the Cleveland Division of Police.
The toddler’s father, 54-year-old Jose Pedro, is a 23-year veteran of the Cleveland police department.
Preliminary investigation indicated that the toddler got hold of his father’s service weapon, according to the AP.
Neighbor Sonya Hobbs told cleveland.com that she was leaving her house when she heard the toddler’s older brother screaming.
“(He was) hollering ‘Call 911, my brother just shot himself,’ ” Hobbs said. “He was just screaming and hollering. I got my phone and called 911.”
She said she went inside her neighbors’ home and saw the toddler on the floor.
“He was only 2 years old,” Hobbs told cleveland.com.
Efforts by The Washington Post to reach the police department Saturday were unsuccessful.
Across the country this year, there have been at least 242 child shootings — when a minor accidentally shot themselves or others — according to Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization funded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. The advocacy group, which compiles shooting data using news reports, found that 278 such shootings took place last year.
A Washington Post analysis last year found that a substantial percentage of accidental shootings are committed by toddlers — children as young as 1 year old — who get their hands on a gun and accidentally shoot themselves or someone else.
The Post’s Christopher Ingraham wrote last year that toddlers accidentally shot at least 265 people in 2015.
In October, an 18-month-old boy died after he was accidentally shot in his family’s home in Georgia. Police were unsure whether the toddler shot himself or was accidentally shot by his 3-year-old brother.
April alone had at least seven incidents, five of which were fatal. One of those shootings involved a 2-year-old Indiana boy who shot himself with a gun that his mother left in her purse on the kitchen counter. Another one involved a 1-year-old girl who died in Missouri after she shot herself with her father’s gun.
In a recent satirical PSA, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence proposed cracking down on the nation’s toddlers to end gun-related deaths.
“Americans are shot by toddlers at least once a week,” according to the one-minute video. We need to lock them up. Not the guns — that’s just un-American. Round them up. Deport them. Get them out of our country. And keep them away from guns.”
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, said earlier that although the PSA is satirical, “the public health crisis it calls attention to is anything but.”
“Whether the trigger is pulled by a toddler, a convicted felon, domestic abuser or terrorist, we have a problem in America with guns too easily falling into the wrong hands. And that translates to hundreds of lives lost or changed forever every single day.”
No arrests have been made in connection to the Cleveland toddler’s shooting. An investigation is continuing.
The police department requires its officers to use or handle their service weapons “in a safe, proper and authorized manner.”
Peter Holley and the Associated Press contributed to this report.