A toddler in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania accidentally killed his older sister while handling a loaded handgun on Saturday morning. The two-year-old boy and three of his siblings were playing with the gun which was left at the home the previous night. The toddler pointed the loaded and cocked .357 magnum at his sister and the gun went off.
The victim was identified on Sunday as Jamara Stevens. The bullet hit Jamara in her shoulder area; the bullet then traveled through her chest striking her in her heart. The child was rushed to the hospital in the back of a police car but was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia around 10:20 a.m.
The 14-year-old brother found the gun on top of the refrigerator where it had been left by the mother’s boyfriend the night before. The four children, who included the oldest brother, the victim, 7-year-old sister and the toddler, were playing with the gun in their bedroom. The mother, Tiffany Goldwire, was down the hall in the bathroom when the gun fired.
When police arrived to the home, located on the 3800 block of Wallace Street in West Philly, they found Goldwire holding Jamara in her arms. The 2-year-old boy who fired the weapon had a burn resulting from the discharge and gunpowder residue in his hands.
Goldwire was questioned for at least five hours by the police but refused to fully cooperate during the interview. Neither the child’s mother nor boyfriend explained why the gun was left at the home after his visit the night before.
Too many innocent children are killed every year because they live in homes where guns are kept unlocked and loaded. A study published in Pediatrics found that there are close to 1.7 million children under 18-years-old who live with an unsecured and loaded gun in the house. According to Beth Ebel, M.D. of the American Academy of Pediatrics, many parents who own guns are responsible about keeping them stored safely but fail to raise concern when allowing their child to visit someone else’s home.
The nation’s focus tends to shift to the tightening of gun law whenever a tragic school shooting arises but the biggest threat to children is commonly found right inside their own homes. Every year more than 3,000 kids are accidentally injured by guns and nearly 140 children are killed.
Virtually everyone has seen a child use their thumb and index finger as they pretend to shoot bad guys. This should ring proof positive of a child’s fascination for guns. Children are curious and creative by nature so the impulse to shoot a gun if found is innate or absolutely natural.
The National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program has promoted firearm safety through law-enforcement agencies, in youth groups and schools since 1988. The hard truth is research shows, even after being warned; most children cannot resist the temptation of handling a gun.
The professor of applied behavior analysis at the University of South Florida, Raymond Miltenberger, Ph.D., says many children can recite what they should do if the find a firearm but still do the wrong thing when it counts.
This unfortunate tragedy confirms the need for added safety and responsibility when housing handguns inside of homes where children reside.
On Saturday a two-year-old child in West Philadelphia accidentally shot and killed his older sister while playing with a loaded handgun. The toddler and three of his siblings were playing with the gun which was left at the home by their mother’s boyfriend the previous night. The unsuspecting little boy pointed the loaded and cocked .357 magnum at his sister and the gun discharged killing 11-year-old Jamara Stevens.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)