UPDATE: Community, family in shock after 2-year-old accidentally - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Community, family in shock after 2-year-old accidentally shoots and kills his mother

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HAYDEN, Idaho - A family and a community are in shock, and mourning the loss of a young woman who was accidentally shot and killed by her 2-year-old son. Tuesday afternoon the woman was identified as 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge, from Blackfoot, ID.

Lt. Stu Miller from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office says her son "accessed a concealed weapon that was inside the victims purse and discharged it, striking the victim." Lt. Miller says Rutledge did have a legal and valid concealed weapons permit, which was issued in Washington state. Idaho does honor concealed weapons permits honored in Washington, so she was in line with the law. Washington also honors concealed weapons permits issued in Idaho.

Family members told KHQ that Veronica Rutledge was visiting family in the north Idaho area. They say she was shopping at Walmart with three other kids, her nieces and nephews, when the 2-year-old boy reached into her purse and the gun fired. Tuesday evening we learned more information about Veronica Rutledge. We're told she has a degree in chemical engineering and works as scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, which is just west of Blackfoot, ID.

The shooting happened Tuesday morning at 10:20. Walmart immediately evacuated all customers and shut down for the day. They plan to reopen Wednesday morning at 6am. KHQ reached out to Walmart for comment, and the company gave us this statement: "A very sad incident occurred at our store today involving the death of a female customer. We are fully cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff's deputies as they investigate this matter."

Tuesday evening KHQ was able to reach Veronica Rutledge's father-in-law, Terry Rutledge. Terry says Veronica was taken from their family much too soon. He went to say she was "beautiful. A young, loving mother who was doing some after Christmas shopping," when the tragic accident happened. He said he always raised his family to be responsible gun owners, and that his daughter-in-law was the same way. Ultimately, Rutledge says, the family is in shock.

Lt. Miller says more could have been done to prevent the shooting. "Instances like this, you know I'm a big proponent of a concealed weapon for your own safety. However, you have to be responsible. Unfortunately, in this case, that just wasn't," said Miller. "We're in the holidays, just after Christmas, right before the new year. A tragic, tragic accident," said Miller.

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