A 4-year-old boy accidentally shot himself to death Saturday morning in northwest Indiana, police said.
About 10:50 a.m., 4-year-old Eric Cole was at a babysitter’s house in the 7700 block of East 120th Avenue in Crown Point when he found a handgun in a case beneath a bed in an upstairs bedroom, according to the Lake County sheriff’s and coroner’s offices.
Cole opened the case and then handled the firearm, which fired a single round, striking the boy, the sheriff’s office said. He was taken to Franciscan Health Crown Point, where he died just after noon, according to the coroner’s office.
The Lake County sheriff’s office is investigating the incident as an accidental shooting. Charges were not expected to be filed, the sheriff’s office said.
A GoFundMe page set up to raise donations for Cole’s family has raised more than $1,800 toward a $10,000 goal as of Sunday afternoon.
Kiki Eich Podkul, who started the page on behalf of Cole’s parents, wrote that Cole was a “spunky, energetic, loving little boy.”
“This is the hardest thing our family has to go through, and we are just asking for any help that you are able to give,” Podkul wrote. “It’s with a heavy heart that I am writing this and just hope we all have the strength to come through this without seeing his smiling face everyday.”