Experts say many accidental shootings can be prevented with safe storage and education.
SAN ANTONIO – Romell Richardson turned 2 on March 23. A little over a month later, on April 27, the boy with the sweet smile was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound.
Family members told police the boy reached for something on a shelf at his home in Kents Store Street and mistakenly pulled down a firearm.
They said when the gun hit the floor it exploded, hitting the boy in the head.
Police said family members rushed the boy to nearby Christus Santa Rosa Westover Hills for quick treatment and the boy was transferred to University Hospital for intensive trauma care, but none of that was enough.
The coroner has not decided whether or not her death will be ruled accidental, and the San Antonio Police have not provided any updates on the status of their investigation.
Funeral services are still pending for Richardson.
In another shooting in West Agarita on Saturday night, another two-year-old boy was shot at his home. In that incident, family members told police they heard a shot inside the house and found the injured boy on the kitchen floor.
An update on his condition has not been made available.
Ernest Shaun Hernandez, owner of 10 Western tactical firearms on South Frio Street, said there are many ways parents can work to keep their children safe.
Hernandez said devices are important, but said education is an even greater asset because children can carry knowledge with them both at home and on the go.
“From a young age, exposing them to it, taking them to a shooting range, showing them how it works, maybe letting them wind up and having them experience it removes some curiosity,” Hernandez said, adding that children who are better informed have a better understanding of safe behavior.
“Curiosity is a bad thing. You don’t want them to be curious about the gun, whether the parent is home or not or if they get up at night and walk around or whatever the situation is. You don’t want them to,” he said. Hernandez said, adding that she has many clients who bring three- or four-year-olds into her business to start teaching them basic, life-saving skills.
“This is your first step to safety,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said any child physically capable of picking up a gun is old enough to receive instruction, “because they’re old enough to injure themselves or someone else with it.”
As for safety devices, Hernandez said federal law requires any handgun sold to leave the store with a locking device.
He says people who buy guns from friends or family can also find and purchase simple, inexpensive cable locks.
There are also travel safes that can be anchored to vehicles for safety during travel.
Hernandez said the price range for the safe can range from about $20 to several hundred dollars for a more sophisticated home safe.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said his office not only provides free gun locks but also offers a delivery service.
Salazar said anyone can request a block by emailing [email protected].
Here are some sites that offer gun safety information for children.