POLICE: Waco toddler, 2, found uncle’s gun in backpack and shot himself in the head

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The Waco Police Department on Thursday identified Derrick Pipkins, 21, as the man charged with tampering with physical evidence after his two-year-old nephew found a gun in a backpack and shot himself in the head.

Police said the shooting appeared to be accidental. A Waco Police spokeswoman confirmed Pipkins is the victim’s uncle.

Shortly after 6 p.m. on Wednesday September 22, police officers were dispatched to the University Club Apartments located at 1725 N Martin Luther King Boulevard to investigate a possible shooting.

When officers arrived at the apartment, they located a 2-year-old boy who had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

Paramedics immediately transported the boy to Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Hospital where he later died.

While at the scene, investigators learned the boy found a firearm in a backpack belonging to his 21-year-old uncle.

At this point in the investigation, police believe the boy may have accidentally shot himself with the firearm after finding it.

After the shooting, the owner of the firearm, Pipkins, took the weapon and fled the scene, police said. The man later returned to the scene and was taken into custody

The victim has not been identified by police. No further information is available at this time.

One area gun safety instructor says this tragedy is an opportunity for everyone to learn about proper gun storage.

“It’s certainly not the baby’s fault, said Johnny Price, a firearms instructor at Big Iron CHL. “ The thing is too many people are taking short cuts. They’re not learning about firearms, they’re not learning about safety they just go buy one,” Price said.

Price says gun owners need to make sure their firearms are unloaded if its not on their person. Additionally he said gun owners should invest in a locked storage for their firearm like a gun vault or a locked cabinet. He says simply hiding it in a difficult to reach place is not enough as kids tend to be curious.

Experts also recommend teaching children about proper gun safety so that if they encounter a firearm at home or at another location they can properly know how to handle it.

Written by Royden Ogletree and Rosemond Crown

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