Toddler fatally shot by 12-year-old

January 9, 2009 6:41:44 PM PST
There are new developments in the accidental shooting death of a toddler in East Palo Alto. The little boy died after a 12-year-old relative fired a rifle he found. Police are now looking for the owner of that weapon.

Star Grewe cannot put her grief into words. Her 2-year-old son Andrew was shot and killed Thursday night at his grandmother's house in East Palo Alto.

The tragic accident happened when a 12-year-old relative was playing with a rifle hidden in the garage by a family friend.

"Everybody loved him, He was our life. He was our family's life. I can imagine my mom. She's really hurting right now everybody is hurting from what happened," said Andrew's relative.

Police say they are looking for the owner of the rifle, 33-year-old Sergio Sanchez. They say he was temporarily staying at the home and asked to leave after he recently shot himself in the left hand with the same rifle.

"What we're trying to find out from Sergio is in fact did he in fact shot himself two weeks ago, was the child present, did the child witness it, did the child see where he left the weapon," said East Palo Alto Police Department Captain Carl Estelle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2004 nearly 600 California children and youth under the age of 21 were killed with a firearm.

Kenzo Dix was 15-years-old when he was accidentally killed in 1994. His father is now fighting for legislation that would make guns more difficult for a non-authorized person to shoot.

"They should have built in locks right now, and as soon as the technology is available should use the owner authorized technology so the weapon can only be fired by an authorized owner," said Brady Campaign Chapter President Griffin Dix, Ph.D.

It is a crime in California to store a loaded firearm of any kind if a child can gain access to it. The District Attorney's Office says it will review the evidence to determine if charges are filed and who would face those charges. For now, the 12-year-old boy and his siblings are in protective custody.