Police in Lemoore are investigating the death of a 3-year-old who shot herself in the head

LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police are investigating the tragic death of a child in the South Valley.

Lemoore police responded to College Park apartments Saturday afternoon. In a bedroom of an apartment, they found a three-year-old girl with head trauma, lying next to a handgun.

"The injuries with the child were consistent with a gunshot wound," said Lemoore Police Detective Matthew Smith. "The child was transported to AMC by EMS and later pronounced deceased."

Police say she shot herself, and was alone in the bedroom.

"This is Lemoore man, you don't expect this to happen at all, you don't," said one neighbor did not want to be identified. "I got interviewed, and I knew kids were over there, and you could tell something bad happened."

Lemoore Police say the family of the three-year-old was visiting from Southern California. They were staying with the two women who live at the apartment, who police say weren't home at the time of the shooting.

But police say the gun belongs to one of those women.

At the time of the shooting, they say the gun was close to the child, out in the open, and did not have a locking mechanism on it.

Detective Smith says it's the hardest case he's had during his eight years on the job.

"Based on my investigation and all the statements I've obtained and physical evidence, I believe it could have been avoided by simply securing a firearm," Smith said.

"Take care of the guns, and those that know how to handle them, will," said the same neighbor. "Those that don't, can't."

No arrests have been made yet, but police say two people could face felony charges of reckless endangerment of a child and negligent storage of a firearm.

That includes the woman who lives at the apartment and had possession of the gun, and the gun's registered owner, who does not live at the apartment.
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