(CNN) — The father-in-law of a mother fatally shot in an Idaho Walmart by her 2-year-old son says she didn’t have a mean bone in her body.
“Everybody that met her, knew her, loved her,” Terry Rutledge said about Veronica Rutledge, 29.
She died Tuesday after her young son shot her accidentally while they were out shopping with other family members, authorities said.
Rutledge — who put herself through school and was a chemical engineer — “was a fun-loving, outgoing, outdoorsy person,” said Terry Rutledge. “Her family liked to camp, hike, do outdoorsy things. They loved being together,” he said.
He said that Veronica Rutledge had carried a gun for years and had extensive training.
“I cannot put any blame on my daughter-in-law because I know her, the training she’s had … I don’t take it lightly … I cannot put any negligence on her part. It was a terrible accident.”
Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger revealed details of the accident following an autopsy on Wednesday.
According to Wolfinger, the toddler removed the 9mm Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun from his mother’s new handbag, one that was “specifically designed for concealed carry of a firearm,” he said.
“The 2-year old removed the firearm from the purse and fired one bullet from the pistol. The bullet struck Mrs. Rutledge in the head, killing her instantly.”
The store’s manager, who was nearby at the time, “stepped in and removed the firearm from the child,” Wolfinger said.