A 44-year-old man who allegedly fled the scene has been arrested, police say
A 2-year-old boy is in critical condition after police in Michigan say he apparently shot himself with a gun by accident outside a Sunoco gas station Tuesday afternoon.
The toddler had been left alone in the car when he got a hold of the unsecured gun, Jordan Gulkis, a spokeswoman for the Lansing Police Department, tells PEOPLE.
Officers in Lansing were dispatched to the 3000 block of Dunkel Road shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Firefighters rushed the toddler, whose name has not been released because he is a minor, to a local hospital for treatment for the gunshot wound.
A 44-year-old male allegedly fled the scene but was later arrested in connection to the case, Gulkis says.
The man's name has not been released because he has not been arraigned, Gulkis said. The Ingham County Sheriff's Office, which assisted in the investigation, declined to confirm if the man was still detained as of Wednesday afternoon.
The gun had not been immediately recovered, WLNS 6 reported, and police did not respond with an update to PEOPLE regarding the status of the firearm.
Under a new Michigan gun safety law passed earlier this year, gun owners must keep firearms “unloaded and locked with a locking device or stored in a locked box or container if it is reasonably known that a minor is or is likely to be present on the premises.”
If minors publicly obtain an improperly stored gun in Michigan or brandish it toward another in “in a careless, reckless, or threatening manner,” then the gun owner can face 93 days behind bars and/ or a fine of $500 for the misdemeanor.
Both time in jail and fines attached increase with injury or death. A child discharging the weapon and injuring themselves or another ticks the punishment up to five years and/ or a fine of $5,000 for the felony, while more serious injury can be up to 10 years and/ or $7,500, and death up to 15 years and/ or $10,000.
The law specifies no penalty for an improperly stored gun not obtained by a child.
More than half of U.S. gun owners do not safely store their firearms, according to a survey by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Gun storage safety, which is often a factor in accidental shootings among children, has not been extensively quantified, and the 2018 survey was believed to be the first nationally representative sample examining the issue in 15 years.
For more information on safe firearm storage and the most effective ways to protect children from unsecured firearms, visit BeSMARTforkids.org.
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