Police: Toddler accidentally shoots mother in Indiana

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Police in Northwest Indiana said a man is in custody after a woman was accidentally shot by her 3-year-old daughter Tuesday afternoon. (WLS)

Police in Northwest Indiana said a man is in custody after a woman was accidentally shot by her 3-year-old daughter Tuesday afternoon.

Merrillville police said the woman was in her car in a parking lot outside secondhand store Plato's Closet at the time of the shooting. According to police, the woman's boyfriend left his 9mm handgun with extended magazine on the center console of the car while he went inside the shop.

The victim's 3-year-old daughter grabbed the gun and it went off. The bullet went through the seat and struck the woman through her back in her right shoulder.

"We just heard screaming. We ran outside with a bunch of other people. Someone said someone was hurt and bleeding," said Hadassah Zirkle, who works at Plato's Closet.

A 1-year-old child was also in the backseat of the car in a car seat, police said.

"The first thought was to get the kids out of there," said Rebecca Todd, Plato's Closet employee. "We grabbed them. We brought them inside, and we just tried comforting them as best we could."

The woman, who police said is six weeks pregnant, was taken to a local hospital for treatment, then transported to Loyola Hospital in critical but stable condition. Police have not released any further information about her, including her name or age.

The victim's boyfriend, 21-year-old Menzo Brazier, is charged with child endangerment, police said.

"He came outside, like screaming, asking what happened, kind of, like, disbelief on his face," Zirkle said.

The children have been placed in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
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