CORNELIUS, N.C. (WCNC/NBC News) – A North Carolina mother of five is dead after one of her children found a loaded gun inside their apartment.
According to the Cornelius Police Department, 25-year-old Gabriel Alexis Henderson was found dead inside her apartment Monday evening. Her youngest child was also injured.
Detectives on the scene determined the only people inside the apartment at the time of the shooting were the victim and her five children.
Police said there was a small semi-automatic handgun located on the bed in the bedroom where the victim was found.
Four children were in the bedroom when the shot was fired, and police believe one of them had found the gun in their mother’s purse.
“We understand that children can not differentiate most of the time between a real gun and a toy gun,” Cornelius Police Capt. Jennifer Thompson said.
The mother was inadvertently shot, as well as the youngest child. The oldest child was in the living room, away from the others when the incident occurred, police say.
The youngest child was transported by MEDIC to Atrium Main in Charlotte with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said tragedies like this are a reminder of why gun safety is so important.
“It is the law to put guns away from the reach of children,” Thompson said. “You unload it, you lock it with a gun lock.”
The Cornelius Police Department is also offering free gun locks to anyone in the community who needs it. Police said since the case involves juveniles; they will not be releasing their names or any other identifying factors.