HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — A 2-year-old boy apparently shot and killed his father in what police in Alabama on Wednesday called a horrible accident.
Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said investigators had all but ruled out suicide and other possible scenarios in the death of Divine Vaniah Chambliss, 31. The Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s office has conducted an autopsy but police said the results had not been submitted as of Wednesday evening.
Chambliss was found shot once in the head in an apartment on Tuesday afternoon, and no one else was inside other than the toddler.
Investigators found no sign of an intruder or a self-inflicted wound, Rector said, and police know there was a semiautomatic pistol in the apartment, located in suburban Birmingham.
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“It wouldn’t be a physical obstacle for a 2½-year-old boy to pull a trigger on a semiautomatic handgun,” said Rector.
The boy lived with his mother in the apartment with a sibling who was fathered by the same man, Rector said, and the man often stayed at the apartment to care for his son during the day while the woman was a work.
The woman found the man dead in the apartment when she returned home and called authorities, police said.
Rector said the man’s death appeared to be a “horrible accident” resulting from a child getting hold of a handgun.
“Everyone knows it’s a good idea not to have guns around kids, but we don’t always practice it,” he said.