The Kootenai county sheriff’s office said Veronica Rutledge was shopping with her son and three other children in the small town of Hayden when the boy, sitting in the front of the shopping cart, found the gun and shot her at about 10.20am local time.
The sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller said Rutledge, who was from Blackfoot in southeastern Idaho, had a concealed weapons permit. She was visiting relatives in the area, he added.
Miller said the young boy had reached into his mother’s purse and grabbed a small caliber handgun, which discharged once. “It appears to be a pretty tragic accident,” he added.
Rutledge’s husband was not in the store when the shooting happened but arrived shortly after the shooting. All the children were taken to a relative’s house.
The victim’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told Associated Press that she “was a beautiful, young, loving mother.”
“She was not the least bit irresponsible,” he said. “She was taken much too soon.”
Tragic accident? Yes. Avoidable? Absolutely!