A 2-year-old North Carolina boy accidentally shot and killed himself after he found a loaded gun in his dad’s pickup truck, officials said.
Police found Warren Bennett Oser at his family’s home on West Watson Road with a gunshot wound to his head on Oct. 15, WNCN reported.
The toddler, who was called Bennett by his family, climbed into his dad’s truck through an open door and found the loaded Smith & Wesson 40-caliber handgun in the front seat, the Johnson City District Attorney’s Office said.
While playing with the gun, he accidentally shot himself in the head, authorities said.
The boy’s father, Warren Tyler Oser, will now be charged with failure to properly and safely store his firearms to protect minors, the district attorney’s office announced.
Both of the toddler’s parents were home with him at the time. He was rushed to Johnson Medical Center Clayton, where he later died from his injuries.
“My heart goes out to the parents as they grieve the loss of their son. These tragedies are 100 percent preventable by safely storing all weapons away from minor children as required by statute,” said County District Attorney Susan Doyle.
Doyle added: “This is not about the rightful ownership of guns. This is about the responsibility of gun owners to protect minors by ensuring all weapons are kept safely away from children.”
No one else was injured in the accident.
The grief-stricken parents, Emily and Tyler, were joined by family Monday at their home.
“We’re having to raise money for a funeral we never expected, for a 2-year-old,” one family member told WRAL News.
In an online obituary, the toddler’s family remembered him as a “free spirit with a wild soul who always kept us on our toes.”
“Bennett was a happy child who loved everyone in his life deeply. Every single day, he would go down his list of favorite people to try and visit,” it read. “Though his life was brief, his spirit and memory lives on in his family and friends.”