Investigators detail moments before 2-year-old accidentally shot - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Investigators detail moments before 2-year-old accidentally shot, killed his mother

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HAYDEN, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office says a two-year-old boy pulled his mother's gun completely out of a specially designed purse moments before it fired once, killing 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge.

The medical examiner completed Rutledge's autopsy Wednesday morning.

Sheriff's Deputies say Rutledge was shopping with her two-year-old son, and three other relatives all under the age of 11, around 10:20 Tuesday morning. Deputies say she was just a few feet away from her shopping cart when her son pulled out her concealed 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield semi-automatic handgun from her purse.

"A lot of people [are] wondering how this could have happened, why it happened, you know what's that person doing at Walmart with a handgun. Is that uncommon? It's really not," says Lt. Stu Miller of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives say the purse was specifically designed for concealed carry of a firearm, and she just recently got it. Rutledge had a license to carry a concealed weapon in Washington, but due to Idaho state law the license is valid there as well.

"More states recognize that permit and if you live in Idaho, a Washington permit, you can use it in Idaho," Lt. Miller says. "The Washington permit you can use in a lot more states than for Idaho's standard permit."

Deputies say the Walmart store manager, who was nearby at the time of the shooting, stepped in and took the gun from the child. The manager and store employees then evacuated the store.

Detectives are reviewing the store's surveillance video, and looking at Rutledge's gun. Specifically, they're looking at its safety mechanism and ballistics. They're also speaking with witnesses to help complete their investigation.

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