|Scene of fatal shooting at Hayden Walmart (source)|
(UPDATED - See below)
A 29-year old woman, Veronica J. Rutledge, was shopping with her four children in a Walmart store in Hayden, Idaho, when her 2-year old boy reached into her purse, grabbed a loaded, unsecured handgun, and shot her to death with it.
The woman had a conceal carry permit. This is at least the 11th incident this year caused by a conceal carry permit holder in Walmart stores, and at least the 30th since I've started keeping track. See HERE. And I only know of one incident were a concealed carry permit shooting at a Walmart store was actually deemed as self defense. So, Walmart, why do you still allow this dangerous practice in your stores?
From an article:
Veronica J. Rutledge, 29, was shopping with her son and three other children, Kootenai County sheriff's spokesman Stu Miller said. Rutledge was from Blackfoot in southeastern Idaho, and her family had come to the area to visit relatives.
She had a concealed weapons permit. Miller said the young boy was left in a shopping cart, reached into his mother's purse and grabbed a small-caliber handgun, which discharged one time.
Deputies who responded to the Wal-Mart found Rutledge dead, the sheriff's office said.
"It appears to be a pretty tragic accident," Miller said.
The victim's father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told The Associated Press that Veronica Rutledge "was a beautiful, young, loving mother."
"She was not the least bit irresponsible," Terry Rutledge said. "She was taken much too soon."
The woman's husband was not in the store when the shooting happened at about 10:20 a.m. Miller said the man arrived shortly after the shooting. All the children were taken to a relative's house.
The shooting occurred in the Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho, a town about 40 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington. The store closed and was not expected to reopen until Wednesday morning.
Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said in a statement the shooting was a "very sad and tragic accident."It is very sad and tragic, and unintentional, but it wasn't an "accident" as I define it since it was completely avoidable. There are a lot of lessons to be learned here. The gun wasn't secured. It was around children. It was loaded. And Walmart didn't have to allow the carrying of guns in their stores. All of these factors increase the risk.
Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult.
Walmart. Save money. Die faster.
UPDATE (12/31/14): The purse where the gun had been stored was specially made for storing a concealed handgun and was given to her this Christmas by her husband. Both the woman and her husband were very experienced with guns and guns played a big part in their lives. From an article:
Terry Rutledge, Veronica's father-in-law, told The Spokesman-Review that the boy unzipped the special gun compartment in the woman's purse where the weapon was kept while she was looking at clothing.
Terry Rutledge said his 29-year-old daughter-in-law did not put the weapon "loosely into her purse."
Victoria Rutledge had a concealed weapons permit, and guns were a big part of Rutledge's life, her father-in-law said. ....
Terry Rutledge told The Washington Post that Veronica Rutledge and her husband practiced at shooting ranges and each had a concealed weapons permit. He said for Christmas this year, her husband gave her the purse with a special zippered pocket for a concealed weapon.
About 7 percent of adults in Idaho had concealed weapons permits at the end of 2012, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. That ranked Idaho among the top third of states.
UPDATE (1/1/15): A good article on the local gun culture that contributed to this tragedy.