MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - An 11-year-old shot and killed himself in southeast Memphis after finding a relative’s pistol last week, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
"Every tragedy is not a crime,” said District Attorney Amy Weirich.
The DA's Office says the owner of the pistol, who was a family relative, took steps to secure her weapon.
Investigators and prosecutors ruled this tragic incident accidental.
"There aren't any laws that mandate that a gun owner get a trigger lock or anything like that. There are laws that talk about recklessness and negligence,” said Weirich.
Weirich says those charges didn't fit this case.
According to investigators, the woman told the boy and his 13-year-old cousin to stay out of her closed-door bedroom.
The gun was also in a holster and the safety was on.
The 11-year-old boy found the gun under a mattress inside an apartment on the 3700 of Station Way Friday night.
"Any gun that had a trigger lock on it would not have been operable by this young boy. A gun that was kept in a safe gun box, he would not have been able to get his hands on,” said Weirich.
Here's what Weirich had to say when WMC asked if she believes there should be laws to mandate safe firearm storage.
"Well, you can't legislate everything. There has to be a certain point where people as responsible adults take appropriate steps,” said Weirich.
Ultimately, Weirich says tragedies like these are avoidable and it takes everyone working together to make change.
"I hope that there are conversations going on right now with parents, grandparents, and young people to say, 'guns are deadly. Stay away from them,” said Weirich.
The child in this case has not been identified.
If you’re in need of a gun lock, you can head to any of the nine police precincts in Memphis.