10-year-old child with autism accidently shoots himself

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. ( & KRNV) -- Police and medical personnel responded to a Staples parking lot in South Lake Tahoe Thursday afternoon after a ten-year-old boy with autism accidentally shot himself in the hand -- the child was transported directly to Barton Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

Investigating officers learned the boy was visiting South Lake Tahoe in the company of his grandparents. According to a recent press release from the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the boy's grandfather is a California peace officer from out of the area, and is lawfully authorized to carry a loaded firearm inside the vehicle.

The child's grandfather had his personally-owned and fully-loaded pistol stored in the closed glove box. The glove box has no locking mechanism, and according to officials, he waited with his grandson in the vehicle while his wife went inside the Staples store.

When the grandfather got out to walk their dog in the immediate area of the parked vehicle, the young boy suddenly got into the front seat and retrieved the gun from the glove box.

As his grandmother left the store and was returning to the vehicle, the boy accidentally discharged the firearm. The bullet struck the little finger of the child's right hand. After the gunshot, the victim got out of the truck and held his hand up where his grandparents could see his finger had been shot. Although the victim sustained serious damage to his finger, his injury is not life-threatening.

Officers secured the weapon as evidence and are submitting their investigation to the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office for review and disposition concerning the possible filing of criminal charges for child endangerment. To help protect the identity of this child with special-needs, neither his name, nor the names of his grandparents will be released by SLTPD at this time.