CANTON, Ohio — A 22-month-old boy was shot and killed with an unsecured gun found inside a Canton home on Monday, according to the Canton Police Department.
Officers responded at approximately 5:33 p.m. Monday to a home in the 1600 block of Royal Avenue NE to a shooting.
Canton fire EMS and police found a 22-month-old boy, identified as Brandon Owens, with a gunshot wound.
He was transported to Cleveland Clinic Mercy Medical Center where hospital staff worked to save him. He was pronounced dead at 7:08 p.m.
Information from the investigation revealed that it appears that an unsecured firearm was found by Owens and a toddler described by police as "almost 3 years of age."
The gun was discharged, which struck Owens in the face, according to the police report. It is unknown who fired the gun.
Chief Jack Angelo said that this is a preventable tragedy and reminded citizens that gun locks are available for free of charge at law enforcement agencies.
Stark County Sheriff George Maier said it's important gun owners not assume kids won't find their guns.
"We all have that, what I call tombstone courage that 'no, my kids aren't going to get with my gun," said Maier. "I've been in this business over 40 years. I've raised my children in my home. I have grandchildren in my home. My gun is secured in my safe or with a gun lock because never say never. It can happen."
Maier said locking and unlocking a gun typically takes less than a minute, and spares gun owners a lifetime of pain.
"I couldn't imagine losing a child or grandchild in that manner," said Maier. "You may never recover from it."
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