Divine Chambliss, 31, was napping when his son found his gun and accidentally killed him, reported police. (Photo: Facebook)
A young father was found shot to death in an apartment outside Birmingham, Ala., on Aug. 18 — and if that weren’t terrible enough, it appeared that his 2-year-old son pulled the trigger.
Divine Vaniah Chambliss, 31, was watching his son while the boy’s mother was at work, according to AL.com. At about 3 p.m., the mom arrived at the apartment where she lives with her son and the couple’s daughter, who was at school. She found Chambliss unresponsive.
“I hurt my dad,” the little boy told his mom after she discovered his father and called police, reported AL.com.
First responders, who made it to the apartment 10 minutes later, found the man in bed with a single gunshot wound to the head and pronounced him dead.
The coroner’s office hasn’t yet issued an official ruling confirming that the toddler accidentally murdered his dad. But according to a police statement, that appears to be what happened.
“Detectives have considered every possible scenario in an attempt to determine who shot the victim,” said the statement, which was posted on Facebook on Aug. 19.
“There is still no indication that an intruder or any third person was involved in this incident. Physical evidence has also helped us determine that the victim could not have shot himself,” continued the statement. “All indications at this point still lead us to believe the child found the loaded handgun and accidentally shot his father.”
Chambliss carried a gun in a holster at all times, his family told AL.com, because he worked as a security guard at his church. He always kept the safety on, they maintained.
When he lay down for a nap while watching his son, he apparently put the semiautomatic gun under a pillow — and they believe that the boy found it and began playing with it.
The incident is a heartbreaking reminder that a gun in the home is 22 percent more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or accidental shooting than in self-defense, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
And though no national statistics are kept on the number of kids who accidentally fire a gun and injure or kill another child or adult, sadly, this kind of horrific tragedy has happened before.
Just last week, a Georgia woman was mortally wounded when her 4-year-old son shot her in the head. Mother and son were sitting in her parked car when the boy found the gun, thought it was a toy, and fired.
And in December 2014, a 29-year-old Idaho mom shopping at Walmart with her 2-year-old son and three nieces was shot in the head when the toddler unzipped her handgun from a compartment in her purse and fired it.