A 3-year-old boy in a small Michigan
town was killed over the weekend when he
accidentally shot himself in the head with a gun
he found on the closet floor of his home.
The shooting death will undoubtedly renew the
debate about gun safety, particularly after the
boy’s father took to Facebook calling for it.
The incident took place Sunday at a home in
Dundee, near the Ohio border.
Police said Damon Holbrook discovered the gun,
which belonged to a family friend who was living
in the house.
Authorities told CNN affiliate WXYZ that the family
friend, Joshua Greenhill, had a concealed pistol
license and he put the .40 caliber handgun in the
closet. It was loaded, with a bullet in the chamber
— but was not locked.
Three other children were in the house at the
Greenhill, was charged with careless discharge of
a firearm — a misdemeanor which carries a
sentence of up to 2 years in prison or a fine of
$2,000. He didn’t speak to reporters after his
court appearance Monday.
“We are working on a more serious charge at this
time. We have not completed our investigation,”
Dundee police Chief David Uhl told reporters. “You
have got to get more diligent with the guns. Be a
lot safer with them.”
‘My boy would still be here’
After the shooting, Damon’s father, Brian
Holbrook, posted this message on Facebook: “I
have nothing wrong with guns it’s with this
country was built on. I will still support the
“All I ask is that everyone please, please safety
first lock it up and put it out of reach of anyone
that has no business being around a gun
“Gun safety people! My boy would still be here if it
was put away like it should have been.”
In May, a southern Kentucky mother stepped
outside her home just for a few minutes, but it
was long enough for her 5-year-old son to
accidentally shoot and kill his 2-year-old sister
with the .22-caliber rifle he got for his birthday.
In early April, a 4-year-old boy in Tennessee shot
and killed a 48-year-old woman, and just days
later, a 6-year-old boy was killed in New Jersey
after being shot in the head by his 4-year-old
Firearm deaths of kids rare
But despite the recent incidents, accidental
firearms deaths are rare among children.
According to the CDC’s National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control, 703 children under the
age of 15 died in accidental firearms deaths
between 2001 and 2010, the latest year for
which the agency’s statistics on fatalities are
During the same period, 7,766 children under the
age of 14 suffered accidental firearms injuries —
about one injury for every million children.
But statistics don’t matter much if it’s your child
that’s shot, said Missy Carson Smith, founder of
Gun Safe Mom, a campaign to make the gun
question as common as asking about food
allergies, swimming pools and video game limits.
“It just shreds your family,” said Smith, whose
own teenage brother died in a shooting. She
started the campaign in 2009, after learning
during a carpool trip that unsecured guns were in
the home of a family where her daughter had
“The kids knew where they were, they could get
to it,” she said. “That’s when my heart just
dropped in my stomach.”