Update 7:46 p.m. EST: The shooting victim was identified Veronica Rutledge, KREM, Spokane, WA news reporter Whitney Ward tweeted.
BREAKING: Hayden Walmart shooting victim identified as Veronica Rutledge from Blackfoot, ID. Had a concealed carry permit out of Spokane.
— Whitney Ward (@KREMWhitney) December 31, 2014
A 2-year-old allegedly grabbed a handgun from his mother's purse then shot and killed her at a Walmart in Hayden, Idaho, Tuesday, KXLY, Spokane, Washington, reported. The mother, whose identity has not been revealed, died at the store.
The Hayden Walmart closed its doors and will not reopen until Wednesday at 6 a.m. as police investigate, KXLY said. Employees refused to talk to reporters as they left the building.
As mass killings in the U.S., like the 2012 Sandy Hook and Aurora movie theater massacres, grip world attention, establishments like Chipotle, Target, Chili's, Panera, Sonic and Starbucks have asked customers to leave their guns at home -- even in states that allow people to carry weapons on their person.
Walmart, however, still allows patrons to bring guns into its stores. In a statement to International Business Times, a Walmart spokesperson said the incident was horrific. “A very sad incident occurred at our store today involving the death of a female customer,” the spokesperson said. “We are fully cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff's deputies as they investigate this matter.”
When asked about guns being allowed into Walmart stores where law permits, the spokesperson responded, “We follow all state, local and federal law when it comes to those types of things.” Regarding the victim, he said police said she “had a conceal and carry permit.” Idaho’s gun laws state residents do not need a background check to buy a firearm. It’s also one of seven states where concealed weapons are allowed on college campuses.
Though specific statistics are unavailable, children have been known to kill people accidentally, the Washington Post reported in September. “We know how many times children die each year as a result of gun deaths,” Jon S. Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told the Post. “We don’t know how many times children pull the trigger and someone dies.”
The rate at which an American child was more likely to be shot and killed was drastically higher in comparison with other high-income countries, data from the World Health Organization revealed. U.S. children are 17 times more likely to be killed by a gun when matched to 25 other countries with similar incomes.
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