SMITHFIELD — An autopsy is being performed on a 5-year-old boy, who is believed to have accidentally shot himself in the head. The shooting occurred Sunday morning at a home in Smithfield.
Smithfield City Police Chief Travis Allen said the boy’s family had returned Saturday night from a camping trip. They had unloaded all of their supplies into the home and then went to bed.
“The 5-year-old boy woke up early and went downstairs, and started going through the stuff,” said Allen. “He found a handgun, the family had taken with them camping. He started playing with that handgun and it discharged.”
The bullet struck the child in the head. It is suspected that he was killed instantly.
Allen said the rest of the family was still asleep when the shooting occurred.
“It was fairly early in the morning and the family came down and found the boy. It is a two-level home and the family was in the upstairs and they came downstairs to the main level to find the child.”
Police and emergency crews responded to the home. The child was pronounced dead at the scene and turned over to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Allen said no one else was injured in the shooting. The initial evidence suggests the shooting was a “tragic accident.”
“It doesn’t appear suspicious now but it is standard procedure that we will go down and observe the autopsy just in case something is brought to light. We aren’t seeing anything that would warrant suspicious circumstances.”
The identity of the child has not been released, pending notification of extended family.
Allen said the shooting was traumatizing for everyone that was called out to the home. It is a heartbreaking reminder of the importance of caring for firearms.
“Always unloaded, always secured. We can’t preach that enough. I understand that you’re coming home from a long weekend and you think it is fine to keep stuff there because nobody is going to touch it, but you never know. Especially with firearms, it is particularly important that you make sure that you secure those things.”
Funeral services are expected to be announced later this week.