Aunt of toddler who shot himself : “He probably thought (the gun) was a toy”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A three-year-old boy is clinging to life in the hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the head over the weekend. The little boy's family says they are not blaming anyone for what happened -- but instead, just praying the boy gets better.

The family of three-year-old Kevin Donald is asking for prayers, as the little boy remains in critical condition. 

The boy's aunt says doctors are waiting for the swelling to go down before any surgery can be done.

"It's tragic. It was the worst day of my whole 24 years of life. I never thought we would be going through something like this. It's very, very hard," the boy's aunt, Brittney Petersik said.

Petersik says it happened on Saturday, May 3rd, after a shopping trip -- when she and the boy's mother were unloading the car.

"The kids happen to see mom. We pull up and they ran out while we were bringing the TV out. If I would have seen him get in the car, I would have knew to get him out of the car," Petersik said.

Somehow, the boy got his hands on a gun that was in the glove box of his mother's car.

"He was curious. He probably thought it was a toy. It was a little gun. It didn't have a safety," Petersik said.

The little boy pulled the trigger, and shot himself in the head. 

He was then rushed to Children's Hospital.

Petersik says the boy's mother is a responsible gun owner -- and says what happened is a tragedy, and something that was unexpected.

"She has her license. She didn't just buy the gun. It's not a new gun. It's hers. This was never meant to happen. The only reason it was in the car was because she had to take it out of her purse because we had to go to St. Vincent de Paul -- so you can't go into a church with a gun," Petersik said.

The incident has prompted Petersik to give advice to others.

"Take the clips out. Take the bullets out. Leave the clip somewhere else -- locked up somewhere for a kid not to find it," Petersik said.

The family has planned a prayer vigil for Tuesday, May 6th at the scene of the shooting (106th St. and Heather Ave.). That prayer vigil is planned for 6:00 p.m.

We're told Kevin is a vibrant little boy who was looking forward to his fourth birthday, which is in about two-and-a-half weeks.

21 comments

    • No Words

      The mother should’ve known better! Especially, if she knew the gun didn’t have a safety.

  • Sheila Moyet

    Of course he thought it was a toy. To a 3 yr toddler everything is a toy. That is why their needs to be an adult present, and loaded guns need to be kept in safe places. Where are peoples brains???

  • tammy

    Instead of putting blamemy heart and prayers go out to this baby and his family. FREAK ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE AT ANYTIME.

    • artor1

      When someone ignores every single bit of well-repeated safety procedure, and the inevitable tragedy occurs, can you really call it an accident? The mom is as guilty as if she pulled the trigger herself. I feel sorry for the kid, but his mom is a danger to everyone around her.

  • Denny Hoke

    Wow !! My 3 year old was never left out of my sight let alone a loaded gun in an unlocked car with an unlocked glove box … That my kid can access .. No excuses ! Reckless endangering safety .

  • Darkstar

    NO FREAKING DUH he thought it was a toy! Obviously the toddler didn’t go “Oh look a real gun, maybe I should blow my brains out to get away from my STUPID PARENTS”… oh wait maybe he did 😛 Obviously the parents and aunt are fine examples of the “Publik Edumukashun Systum”

    • Really?!

      You are spot on, it is the education system – the HOME. Children need to be taught at home by their PARENTS what acceptable behaviors are, teachers are for teaching the three R’s. Everyday I see very young/small children outdoors without adult supervision. They are in the streets, down the road in the neighbors yard, playin in cars, etc. Stop trying to blame the school system and hold these people accountable for FAILING TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN.

  • Mike Johnson

    responsible gun owners dont leave their weapons in unsafe areas. charges should be brought against the guns owner immediately, maybe there will be charges once its determined if the child lives or dies. but it is a violation of the law to have a loaded weapon where a child can access it. but if they dont charge parents for rolling on top of and killing their kids im sure this wont be a happen either.

  • josephsuchorski

    My Thoughts & Prayers go out to this Kid. The Gun belonged to the Mom & was in the Glove Box of her car. Therefore she should be the one getting Charged since Wisconsin Law says that it is a Misdemeanor to leave a loaded Gun in a place where a child can access it.

    Wisconsin Statue 948.55 Leaving or storing a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child. (1)In this section, child means a person who has not attained the age of 14 years. (2)Whoever recklessly stores or leaves a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if all of the following occur: (a) A child obtains the firearm without the lawful permission of his or her parent or guardian or the person having charge of the child. (b) The child under par. (a) discharges the firearm and the discharge causes bodily harm or death to himself, herself or another.

    • Michal

      When you analyzed statute 948.55 you failed to take into account section 4 of the statute which provides exceptions sections 2 & 3, section 3 you failed to mention at all. So before you attempt to play DA please ensure that you have read the statute in its entirety.

  • Richard

    A responsible gun owner purchases a safe designed for a car to store a loaded firearm in. If that car had been broken into, a criminal would have found another tool to commit crimes with. It also appears that this Aunt is suggesting that it is the churches fault for having a “gun free zone” policy, rather than accept the fact her relative was negligent. I don’t support “gun free zones” or “no weapons” signs because in my opinion they do nothing to stop a criminal bent on hurting people. Plus I do believe it opens up opportunity for weapons to be stolen because they are not properly stored in a car. Not to mention the potential for accidental discharges when unholstering and rushing to hide the weapon because you don’t want some “anti-gun” person to see it and then call in the SWAT! This was very unfortunate and I hope this child pulls through with the least handicap possible for this type of injury.

  • Tracy Olson

    All these comments make me sick. I didn’t know so many gods walked among us passing their judgment. And of course – a yahoo has to find a way to bring Obama into it. I do not care if you thought you were being funny or not. Every last one of you passing judgement is the exact reason why this country, this state and this city is in the state it is in. Sitting behind the keyboard preaching hate INSTEAD of trying to figure out ways to help, be it through prayers or what not……saying its an opportunity to make cash. Karma sucks. And Look I actually use my real name as I am not scared to own up to my comments like so many of you others on here. SHAME ON YOU

    • Denny hoke

      Sounds to me like you to are passing judgement on everyone as well what should make you sick is that a mother of a three year old was dumb enough to let her toddler shut himself in the head by not watching her kid trashy is what it is and my name is Denny hoke jr …and i hope the little guy recovers ..

      • politicaljunkiemama

        Yup Denny I sure am passing judgement on people who have the nerve to type the comments i have seen on here, knowing dang well that family and friends and the mother of this poor child could see and read all the hate and judgemental jerks out there. I am sure all these people are the most PERFET parents and never once didn;t lock the child gate tight enough, or have the fornt door close all the way, where their kid accidently gets put into harms way. I feel sorry for this mother, for this family that they felt it was important for their safety to even have to own a gun like that and this poor 3 year old is paying the price with his life. It says more about the sad state of this country.

  • anita

    my heart goes out to the family,but anyone knows that a loaded gun in a car is a BIG NO-NO unless it is on your person.this is not the first time this has happen. wait up an start using what the good lord gave you ITS CALLED A BRAIN.

  • Artor

    “Petersik says the boy’s mother is a responsible gun owner…”
    Dammit! Knock this crap off right now! No, she very obviously IS NOT a responsible gun owner! If she was, we wouldn’t be reading this damned story! She left a gun with no safety or trigger lock loaded and unsecured in her glovebox, where her kid found it. Please tell me what step in that chain was responsible. Anything?

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