Fresno Police highlight gun safety after 2 children accidentally shoot themselves


FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Fresno Police are urging families who own guns to ensure they are secured following a tragic weekend where police say two children accidentally shot themselves. One was fatal.

Authorities said 3-year-old Bryson Vang died Saturday after accidentally shooting himself with his father’s gun.

In a GoFundMe for Vang, his family says he “was so full of life and adventurous. He loved race cars, rainbow muffins, and mac-n-cheese…Most of all, he was such a happy, loving, caring and smart kid. He knew what to say when to say it to make anyone feel better.”

On Sunday, police say an 8-year-old boy was hospitalized after he accessed a gun in his grandfather’s home and accidentally shot himself in the hand. Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said the boy was treated and released.

“Without a doubt, this is a parent’s worst nightmare. And as a parent myself it is very important that we talk about these issues and how we can prevent them,” Balderrama said.

He said in both incidents, the firearms were loaded. Now Fresno Police is ramping its efforts to prevent these types of incidents.

Balderrama said two months ago, they got 10,000 gun locks and as of this morning, they ordered another 10,000 to give to families who want one for free starting Tuesday at their headquarters and five district substations. He said no questions will be asked and families will not have to prove that they own a firearm.

A list of those locations can be found here.

“The main thing we want to do is just preach awareness and make these gun locks available, that way we don’t lose any more children,” Balderrama said.

He said they’ve also partnered with area hospitals to provide them with gun locks so that they can give them to families.

“If you see a child, a school-aged kid injured by a gunshot wound, injured or dead, although it doesn’t happen every day, when it does, it sticks with you pretty much the rest of your life,” said Dr. John Bilello, the chief of pediatric trauma at Community Regional Medical Center and a clinical professor with UCSF Fresno.

Bilello said they’ve been handing brochures on gun safety and are working with Fresno Police to try to prevent these types of tragedies.

“I have a 3-year-old grandson, and my nickname for him is 50 fingers, why because he gets into stuff like kids do and if there’s anything I can do to prevent him or any kid from being injured that would be a wonderful goal,” Bilello said.

As far as the investigations with both incidents over the weekend, Balderrama said once they’re completed, their findings will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office.

“Is it possible that there may be some child endangerment or negligence charges, that’s a possibility. Also here in the state of California, it’s considered a felony to not properly secure your weapon. That’s something for the District Attorney,” Balderrama said.

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