LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane released a statement Thursday following the death of a 2-year-old boy in Lansing who died after accidentally shooting himself with a handgun.
“I have been briefed by the Lansing Police Department on this incident and will review it for any and all criminal charges,” Dewane said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the child’s family and friends in this tragedy, but of course thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must take action, to find some measure of justice and prevent similar acts from taking more of our community’s children. “
The toddler suffered the self-inflicted gunshot Tuesday afternoon outside the Sunoco gas station on Dunckel Road in Lansing. Officials airlifted the boy to an Ann Arbor children’s hospital. He died of his wounds Wednesday night.
Police said the child was alone in the car with access to an unsecured firearm when he shot himself. Shortly after, a 44-year-old man ran away from the scene, although it’s unclear why. Lansing Police Department later apprehended him and took him into custody.
“Both adults exited the vehicle, leaving the child in there with an unsecured firearm,” Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said. “The child found the firearm and it went off.”
Dewane said in his statement that he believes recent gun violence and safety legislation in Michigan will make a difference, and that the new laws mandating safe firearm storage and universal background checks will take effect in March.
“Locally and nationally, we have far too many senseless, preventable deaths as a result of children and young persons having access to firearms,” Dewane said.
The prosecutor spoke of the larger issues regarding firearms in the United States. “No child should have access to a handgun, period,” he said. “However, due to the widespread proliferation of firearms, guns are all too readily available for children to encounter.”