ORLANDO, Fla. – A 5-year-old boy has died after he accidentally shot himself with a family member's gun Tuesday afternoon across the street from Florida Hospital East, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
The shooting happened at 3:57 p.m. in a parking lot at 222 Neighborhood Market Road. When deputies arrived, they said they found Judah Todman, 5, "mortally wounded" in his family's vehicle outside the Neighborhood Kids Academy, suffering from a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted.
An Orange County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said the boy's father left him in the vehicle with access to the loaded gun while he went into Neighborhood Kids Academy preschool to pick up another child.
It's unclear how long Todman was left in the car.
The boy was taken to Florida Hospital East, where he was pronounced dead.
Deputies said the shooting appears to have been accidental. The case will be forwarded to the state attorney's office for further review.
Orange County Public School officials said Todman was a student at Three Points Elementary. The school principal, Charles Lindlau, notified parents and guardians Tuesday evening in a recorded message about Todman's death.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of one of our students. Our sincere condolences are extended to the family,” Orange County Public School spokeswoman Lorena Hitchcock said in an email. “There are grief counselors on campus to help support students and staff who may need to talk with someone.”
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that gunshot wounds are now the third leading cause for childhood deaths. Nearly 1,300 children died from gunshot wounds each year, according to the study which used data from the National Vital Statistics System, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and National Violent Death Reporting System.
The investigation is ongoing. No additional details were immediately available.