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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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9 mm gun that toddler used to shoot mom was in purse’s holster

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 31, 2014

The gun that a toddler used to shoot his mother at Wal-Mart Tuesday was in the zippered pocket of a purse designed to hold a concealed weapon, the woman’s father-in-law said today. Veronica Rutledge was shopping with her 2-year-old-son and three nieces when the fatal accident occurred at the Hayden store. The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office confirmed this afternoon that she was shot once in the head. “She was not an irresponsible mother, who just said, ‘Oh, I want a gun’ and went to the gun store and tossed it loosely into her purse.’ The purse was designed with a built-in holster,” said Terry Rutledge, her father-in-law. “Unfortunately, an inquisitive 2-year-old boy unzipped the compartment while his mother was looking at clothing with her three young nieces, and accessed the gun.” Veronica Rutledge, 29, was a hunter and target shooter, who had a concealed weapons permit. The purse with the holster was a Christmas gift from her husband, Colt. “She generally carried on her person,” Terry Rutledge said. “They’d been looking at another way for her to carry. Something that was comfortable.” Rutledge had a 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield semi-automatic, the sheriff’s office said this afternoon in a news release. The store’s manager was nearby when the shooting occurred, the sheriff’s office said. He removed the gun from the boy. Officials praised the store’s employees for quickly securing the store. In the widespread attention that the shooting has received, Terry Rutledge said he’s concerned about how his daughter-in-law is being portrayed. “I don’t want her portrayed as being irresponsible or careless. That wasn’t the case,” Terry Rutledge said.
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