A boy of three shot himself dead after finding his father's gun in their car during a stop at a US service station.
The father had put the pistol under the seat and got out to fill the tank while the mother went inside the convenience store, leaving their son and baby daughter in the car.
The boy climbed out of his child seat, found the gun and shot himself in the head. He was declared dead at hospital. The girl was not injured.
Detectives in Tacoma, Washington questioned the parents and called the shooting a tragic accident. The father has a concealed weapons permit, and no charges were anticipated.
It was the third recent shooting by a child in western Washington."It is incredible in light of the other ones," said policeman Naveed Benjamin. "You would think people would take more care, not less."
Washington state does not have a law specifically concerning child access to firearms.
The shooting follows the death of the seven-year-old daughter of a police officer on Saturday when her brother found a gun and fired while the parents were out of their car. And on February 22, an eight-year-old girl was critically wounded in a classroom when a gun fired inside the backpack of a nine-year-old boy as he put it on a desk.
"It's another tragedy in a very short period of time," Officer Benjamin said. It highlights the need for people to secure guns, he said.
"You can't predict what children are going to do," he said. "You need to unload and lock it up if you're not carrying it. ... It's really not that hard to practice firearm safety."
Twenty-seven states have some form of law to prevent child access to firearms, but Washington is not one of them. Such laws can include criminal penalties for adults who allow children to get their hands on guns.
The Press Association: Boy kills himself with family gun (external - login to view)