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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Two-Year-Old Boy Shot His Mother to Death in Walmart

     Veronica Jean Rutledge lived in Blackfoot, Idaho in the southeastern corner of the state. On December 30, 2014, the 29-year-old mother was visiting relatives in Hayden, Idaho, a town of 13,000 380 miles north of Blackfoot not far from the resort city of Coeur d' Arlene.

     At ten-twenty on that Monday morning, Rutledge, her two-year-old son, and three of her nieces--all under the age of eleven--were shopping at the Walmart store in Hayden. The toddler sat in the shopping cart near his mother's zipped-up purse. What happened next was recorded on a store surveillance camera.

     The boy unzipped the handbag, reached in and pulled out a handgun. The weapon discharged, killing Veronica Rutledge on the spot. She lay dead on a clothing aisle floor near the back of the store.

     The shooting caused an immediate Walmart shutdown. (The store reopened the next day.)

     According to a spokesperson for the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, "a lot of people around here carry loaded guns." This sheriff's official as well as others have told reporters that guns are an important aspect of the local culture. As a result, no one in the community was shocked by the fact Veronica Rutledge carried a loaded gun in her purse. Some people did express concern that the gun was in such close proximity to the child.

    The police have not released details regarding the make and model of the firearm and have not indicated if Rutledge had a permit to carry it. According to news reports, the gun had been a Christmas gift from her husband. In speaking to reporters, the husband expressed anger that his wife's tragic death was being exploited by anti-gun activists.

     In all probability, no one that young has ever shot and killed another person. 

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