Two Colorado parents have been arrested after a 4-year-old boy fatally shot himself.
The shooting unfolded Tuesday around noon outside of Maggie’s Farm, a marijuana dispensary located in Manitou Springs. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the toddler dead in the parking lot.
The child’s mother and a younger sibling were in the car at the time of the shooting, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The father was making purchases in the store when the boy discovered the gun in the family’s car.
The boy was pronounced dead on scene after suffering from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
“This is a tragic investigation that not only affects the family of the victim, but it affects our community and our first responders,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Officials urged residents to teach gun safety and correctly secure their firearms.
“We want to remind the community to be sure to talk to your children about guns, even if you do not own guns,” the sheriff’s office said. “If you own guns, gun safety must be taught to all those that are near the gun, the gun must be stored unloaded and locked up. All keys to the locks should be hidden.”
The parents have been identified as Ashlynne Perez, 25, and Carlos Perez, 26. They were both arrested and booked into the El Paso County Jail on the charge of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death.
The Gazette was the first to report that the shooting took place outside of Maggie’s Farm.
The New York Post reported the store closed Tuesday and Wednesday following the shooting, and said it would be a resource for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office even though the event was unrelated to the business.
Denver city officials unanimously voted last month to proclaim June 4 as Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“We need to be sure that firearms are handled responsibility and kept out of the hands of people who have no business procuring firearms, and that we keep our children, and all of us, as safe as possible,” said Councilman Paul Kashmann.
State lawmakers are also considering creating an Office on Gun Violence Prevention. The bill to form the office advanced in the House last month.
In 2020, Colorado experienced 846 gun deaths and 11 mass shootings which killed six and injured 52. In Denver, 305 people were injured in shootings last year, a 51 percent increase from the year prior.
Newsweek reached out to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for additional information, but didn’t receive a response before publication.