Child, 5, dies in accidental shooting - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Child, 5, dies in accidental shooting

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Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:17 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

A 5-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed herself Sunday afternoon at a Northwest home.

At approximately 12:22 p.m., Pima County deputies responded to the 7800 block of N. Soledad, near Magee and Old Father roads, in reference of a shooting.

When deputies arrived, they discovered Reese Hotten with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Investigators said Reese and her mother were at the residence of a family friend. Reese located a handgun in the residence, and it discharged.

"If anybody is going to go out and have a firearm, we suggest that they go out and go through a firearms course," said Jason Ogan, public information officer with the Pima County Sheriff's Department. "That way, they can get familiar with their firearm, and during the course they will also teach you proper ways to clean it, to handle it, and also proper ways to actually store it."

The incident is being investigated as an accidental shooting.

Ogan said there is nothing "on the books" that says a gun owner has to keep his or her gun in a specific location or manner such that it can't be obtained by children or any other person. That's up to the gun owner, and that's why the department suggests gun owners take a gun-safety class.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said any charges in the shooting would depend on the facts, but in the past with similar cases, the charge is usually negligence.

"People who have firearms, and if there is any possibility of children having access to the home … people need to keep their guns safety looked up and stored," LaWall said. "We give away free gun locks and we have gunlock giveaways at health fairs."

Adam Goldberg of the Northwest Fire District said an event like this is a reminder for people to childproof their homes.

"We speak a lot about summer safety with pools," Goldberg said, "but if you are visiting a home or the kids are spending time with relatives at their home and the home is not childproof or is not used to having children in the home, it is incumbent upon parents to ask some very difficult questions.

"Not trying to be nosey, not trying to be pushy, but understanding these questions come from the utmost concern for the safety of their children."

Parents should ask, "Do you have any weapons? Are they secure? Where do you keep your prescription medication? Do you have a pool? Is it locked? Does it have a fence?

"We urge people to not only childproof their own homes but to assure the homes their child is visiting has some sort of child awareness," Goldberg said.

To get a free gunlock, contact the Pima County Attorney's Office at 740-5600.

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