A two-year-old boy accidentally killed a woman, reported to be his mother, this morning at an Idaho Walmart. Police say the boy fatally shot the woman after grabbing a handgun from her purse.
The woman was shopping with several children, and it is unclear how they are related, Kootenai County sheriff's spokesman Stu Miller said. Authorities originally said the boy was the woman's son.
The woman, whose identity was not released, had a concealed weapons permit.
Miller said the shooting was accidental and occurred in the Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho, a town about 40 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington.
The woman and the children were in the back of the store near the electronics area when the shooting occurred, authorities said.
UPDATE 12/31: The victim, who was the boy's mother, has been identified as 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge. According to the Spokesman-Review, Rutledge worked as a nuclear research scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory. Police say she died instantly.
...shortly before 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, as the store video cameras recorded the scene, the little boy found a gun in his mother's purse and it discharged once at near point-blank range from where she stood, less than arm's length away, said Lt. Stu Miller, a spokesman for the Kootenai County sheriff's office. She died at the scene, he said, her death appearing to be accidental.
"He probably still doesn't even know what has happened," Lieutenant Miller said of the boy.
The victim, Veronica Jean Rutledge, 29, of Blackfoot, Idaho, about 380 miles from Hayden in Idaho's southeast corner, was visiting family members here in this community of about 13,000 people bordering the resort town of Coeur d'Alene, about 40 minutes from Spokane, Wash. Both her parents and her husband's live in the area, Lieutenant Miller said.
He did not know whether Ms. Rutledge had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Her husband came to the store to collect his son and the girls after the accident.