SEATTLE (AP) — The 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police officer died at a Seattle hospital Sunday after being shot by her young sibling, who found a loaded gun in the family’s van, authorities said.
The shooting occurred inside the vehicle Saturday afternoon as the parents were nearby, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
“At this time we are all extremely concerned for the well-being of one of our department family members,” said Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Neither the officer’s identity nor any details about his career with the department were immediately released. It wasn’t clear if the weapon involved in the shooting had been issued by the department.
“There will be no further information available regarding the investigation until at least early next week,” Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Brent Speyer said in a news release.
The girl was taken first to a local hospital and then transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Her identity and cause of death was expected to be released by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Stanwood Police Department asked the Snohomish County sheriff to handle the investigation.
The shooting was the second involving young children in Washington state in less than three weeks.
A 9-year-old boy took a loaded handgun from the home of his mother, who has a lengthy history of crime and drug abuse, and brought it to his school in Bremerton in his backpack on Feb. 22. The gun discharged when he slammed the bag down on a desk, and the bullet severely injured an 8-year-old girl. She remains in serious condition at Harborview, and doctors expect that her life will be forever altered by her injuries.
The boy’s mother, Jamie Lee Passmore, and her boyfriend, Douglas Bauer, were charged with unlawful possession of firearms charges stemming from a search of their home, where investigators found a 9 mm pistol and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun unsecured on the day of the school shooting.
Unlike dozens of other states, Washington has no law that includes criminal penalties for adults who allow children to get their hands on guns.
State lawmakers considered a measure in the session that ended Friday that would have required additional testing of gun locks and safes before the equipment is distributed to law enforcement officers for home use. The bill was spurred by the 2010 death of the 3-year-old son of a Clark County sheriff’s deputy after the toddler got ahold of a gun from a department-issued safe, which the family insisted was faulty.
The deputy, Ed Owens, was placed on administrative leave after the accident and fired in November after an internal affairs investigation found that he had improperly stored the gun and wrongly blamed his 11-year-old stepdaughter for the death.