Pink pistol mistaken for toy, 3-year-old killed; Community emphasizes gun safety

In a response to the accidental shooting death of a 3-year-old Friday night in Greenville, South Carolina, police are emphasizing the importance of gun safety.

“If you have guns, if you own guns mostly, we would prefer you have them in a lock box,”Jonathan Bragg of the Greenville Police Department told the NBC affiliate. “At least have them out of the reach of children.”

Temorej Smith

Temorej Smith. (Photo credit: Patch)

The incident happened at an apartment complex in the City of Greenville. The 3-year-old, Temorej Smith, and his 7-year-old sister were playing with what they thought was a toy gun — a toy because it was pink — around 7:30 pm. Police aren’t sure who had the gun, but at some point a round was discharged and struck the boy in the head.

Greenville County Coroner’s Office ruled the shooting an accident following an autopsy Saturday morning.

Authorities said during the night of the shooting the kids were being watched by their grandparents as the parents weren’t home at the time.

Police told local media that no one is in custody and that the case is still being investigated.

Following the shooting the founder of a local activist group called “Put Down the Guns Young People,” handed out 55 gun locks at a restaurant nearby the apartment complex. He told local media, “I didn’t want to see parents having guns laying around when a child could maybe get his or her hands on a gun.”

Fox Carolina talked to firearms instructor Mike Moore of a Sharp Shooters, a Greenville gun range, who also stressed gun safety. He told them when you store a gun, “Keep the weapon unloaded, keep at least a two-step process where the gun is in one location and the ammo in another.”

In addition, the Greenville Police Department announced that anyone who needs a gun lock can get one from the police department.

Smith was laid to rest this afternoon after a funeral ceremony in Fountain Inn, South Carolina.

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