HAYDEN, (Idaho) (REUTERS/AFP) - A woman was shot and killed at a Walmart store in northern Idaho on Tuesday and local media reported that the gun went off when her toddler pulled a handgun from her purse and discharged it accidentally.
Police identified the victim as Ms Veronica Rutledge of Blackfoot, Idaho. The shooting took place in the store in Hayden, Idaho, where she was shopping with her children and other family members.“Once on scene, deputies found a 29-year-old victim was deceased from an apparent gunshot wound,” Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said in a statement.
“Her son was seated in the shopping cart and accessed the victim’s concealed weapon from her purse and discharged it, striking the victim,” he added, noting that the shooting appeared to be accidental.Ms Rutledge, who was spending the holidays in the area, had a concealed weapons permit, the sheriff’s office confirmed.
The woman was shopping at a Walmart in Hayden, Idaho, with the toddler seated in her shopping cart when the incident occurred, Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said in a written statement.Sheriff’s officials said investigators were still processing the scene of the shooting, which took place shortly after 10am in the store’s electronics department.“A very sad incident occurred at our store today in Hayden involving the death of a female customer. We are working with the Kootenai Sheriff’s department as they investigate what happened,” Walmart spokesman Brooke Buchanan said.Ms Buchanan said the store had been closed and would remain so until further notice.Hayden is a community of about 10,000 people located in Kootenai County, north of Coeur d’Alene.
Lieutenant Stu Miller of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that a woman in her late 20s was killed in a shooting at the Walmart in Hayden.
"Prelim investigation shows shooting was accidental," Lt Miller said in a tweet.
KCSO on scene of a shooting at Hayden Walmart. Store has been closed. 1 female victim. Gathering details. More to follow.
— Lt. Stu Miller (@KCSO_LtMiller) December 30, 2014
— Cynthia Johnson (@KHQcjohnson) December 30, 2014
The Sheriff office’s Lt Miller told local television KHQ that in “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.”
Walmart said it was “fully cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies as they investigate this matter”.
KREM television reported that Mr Rutledge was in the store with three other children, which police did not immediately confirm.The authorities sent psychologists to help employees needing assistance, it added. The store, which was evacuated, will be closed on Wednesday.