Local News

Durham police: 4-year-old found gun, accidentally shot himself

Posted January 27, 2012

— A 4-year-old boy found a gun and accidentally shot himself at a house on Brightfield Lane in the Ashefield Place subdivision Friday morning, according to police.

The boy, whose name and condition were not released, was being treated at Duke University Hospital.

Someone called 911 around 8:45 a.m. and reported that the child had fallen off a counter and suffered a head injury. Police said they later determined that the boy had found an unsecured gun and was injured when it discharged.

A sticker on the family's van parked in the driveway lists the names of the family – Don and Stacie Nichols, their three children and two pets.

“This tragic incident reinforces the need for gun safety and the proper securing of firearms,” Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. said in a statement.

No other information was released.


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  • right2life Feb 1, 2012

    There has been no update to this story since Friday. It would be nice to know how this child is doing.

  • LEO-007 Jan 30, 2012

    I am an instructor I spend a lot of time on this in my classes. All fire arms need to be secured from children, and children need to be taught about fire arms at an early age. The key here is education on both sides.

  • topfan4unc Jan 27, 2012

    Prayers with this little one.

  • Skydiver2 Jan 27, 2012

    Bad mistake by the parents. I feel bad for them. They have to live with this. True they should have prevented this. I have guns but had always kept them secure and never had them loaded or ammo in the same location when my son was young. I had also taught him the proper way to handle a firearm. Now if you choose not to own a firearm that's your right but don't use an accident as an excuse to say they are bad. Hope all you self righteous liberals never need a gun one day.

  • topfan4unc Jan 27, 2012

    Also, don't be fooled into thinking that my two or three year old isn't strong enough to pull the trigger......I have worked the scenes where three did so easily. Two died and one lived.

  • topfan4unc Jan 27, 2012

    Don't think that I am against gun ownership, for I am all for it. But safely, especially when minors are in a home or even visiting a home. I grew up in a home with two or three guns in it. Had been educated about not handling them and also how deadly they were. Was taught how to shoot them when old enough. Was too afraid of my Dad to dare touch them when he was not even at home!

    Have three guns now in my home and one in my auto for late night traveling or in the event of car jackings and such. I secure them when minors visit in my home. I do not wish to be a part of the statistics!

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Jan 27, 2012

    I wonder what these parents have to say about this being a fair price to pay for having a gun around the house in case a burglar were to enter the home. Uh huh. Yup.

  • topfan4unc Jan 27, 2012

    More info:

    More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots. Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings after discovering a gun.

    Here are more scary stats: Americans own 200 million firearms, and 35 percent of homes contain at least one gun. Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.

    And if you do own a gun and think your kid won't get to it, listen to this: A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found 39 percent of kids knew where their parent's guns were stored, while 22 percent said they had handled the weapons despite adult's warnings to stay away. What's more, age was not a factor in whether children had played with the guns -- 5-year-olds were just as likely to report doing so as

  • topfan4unc Jan 27, 2012

    Please stop calling this an "accident" because it is NOT! Any time a 4 yr old can access a gun and fire that gun, then it is the result of an adult not adequately storing that weapon so as not to be accessed by minors (those that cannot know just how dangerous a weapon can be). It makes steam come out to hear this always referred to as an accident. 100% preventable!!!! I said this before during articles about 3 other shootings in the state in recent months with kids being killed or badly injured.

    Want to know the statistics in past years:

    (older stat)Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that, on average, one child died every three days in accidental incidents in the United States from 2000 to 2005.
    Overlapping stat:
    From 2001 through 2007, over 4,900 people in the United States died from unintentional shootings. A federal government study of unintentional shootings found that 8% of such shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under age 6

  • udaycoosay Jan 27, 2012

    eyeupurass, you clearly have no understanding of modern firearms. Dropping them does not cause them to fire. But since you see no need to protect yourself or your worthless family, I won't be the one to educate you.