Police have charged a woman with manslaughter after her 2-year-old son shot and killed himself on Tuesday.
Police in Hueytown, Alabama, said in a Friday statement that on January 11, authorities responded to a report of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and found that an infant, Kyler Small, had been shot. The child was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said that an initial investigation discovered that the child found a family member’s weapon and discharged it. After investigating and collecting evidence, police say that they presented their case to local prosecutors, who “determined enough probable cause to charge the child’s mother,” Krishana Danyell Small, 23, with manslaughter.
“Detectives have spoken with Small and we believe she intends to turn herself in shortly after this release,” the Hueytown Police Department stated.
According to Alabama news station WBRC, Small turned herself in around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and bonded herself out of jail about an hour later.
Birmingham criminal attorney Roger Appell, who is not involved in the case, told WBRC that with the charge the “district attorney’s office is sort of making a message here.”
“Listen folks, if you are going to have a gun in the house and you have children, you better protect those children from the gun. If you don’t, this is what is going to happen to you,” Appell said.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that advocates for gun control, each year in America “18,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence.”
The organization states that firearms are “the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in the United States.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a database that collects information about shooting incidents in the U.S., the country saw 2,001 unintentional shootings last year. In 2020, that number was even higher, at 2,324, the database shows.
In a separate case in November, a 4-year-old boy in Texas accidentally shot himself and a 2-year-old. Police said that after finding a handgun, the child fired a bullet that passed through his own arm and also hit the baby. Both children were taken to the hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
That same month, police said a 2-year-old in St. Louis got his hands on a rifle and fatally shot and killed his father. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the man, who was in his 20s, was struck in the back and pronounced dead at the scene of the incident.