29-year-old Veronica J. Rutledge was fatally shot by her 2-year-old son at a northern Idaho Wal-Mart in what authorities called a tragic accident.
Veronica was shopping Tuesday morning with her son and three nieces in Hayden, Idaho, when the young boy got hold of the small-calibre handgun. It discharged one time, killing her, Kootenai County sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller said.
Miller said the boy, Rutledge’s only child, had been left in a shopping cart with the purse. The 29-year-old Rutledge had a concealed weapons permit.
About 7 per cent of adults in Idaho had concealed weapons permits at the end of 2012, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. That ranked Idaho among the top third of states.
Kootenai County, which has about 140,000 residents, has issued close to 16,000 concealed weapons permits, Miller said Wednesday.
“It’s very commonplace in northern Idaho for folks to have a concealed weapons permit,” Miller said, and most businesses do not prohibit firearms.
Guns were a big part of Rutledge’s life.
“She was not the least bit irresponsible,” her father-in-law, Terry Rutledge said, in a brief interview with The Associated Press. He complained about people using the incident to attack his daughter-in-law.
Terry Rutledge told The Washington Post that Veronica Rutledge and her husband practiced at shooting ranges and each had a concealed weapons permit. He said for Christmas this year, her husband gave her the purse with a special zippered pocket for a concealed weapon.