MILWAUKEE (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed in the death of a mother who was shot by her 2-year-old son as she drove along a Milwaukee freeway, according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department, which investigated the case.
Patrice Price, 26, was driving her boyfriend's car on Highway 175 on April 26 when his loaded handgun slid from under the driver's seat and the toddler, who was riding in the back seat, picked it up, sheriff's officials said.
The child fired the gun through the front seat, striking Price. A .40-caliber gun was recovered from the floor of the back seat behind the driver, along with a security officer's gun belt belonging to the victim's boyfriend, sheriff's officials said.
The woman's mother was in the front seat, with Price's 1-year-old son. Family members said the older woman was able to put her foot on the brake and maneuver the car to the side of the highway after her daughter was shot. Price was pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving efforts of first responders.
Investigators found nothing illegal about the gun that belonged to Price's boyfriend, sheriff's department spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin said Thursday. Prosecutors from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office concurred with the sheriff's investigators findings, McLaughlin said. A spokesperson for the DA's office did not immediately return a call for comment.
Relatives said Price had borrowed the car from her boyfriend because her vehicle, along with the boys' car seats, had recently been stolen.
The case was similar to one in Florida recently in which Jamie Gilt, 31, was shot in the back by her 4-year-old son who used a handgun that slid from underneath the front seat to the back where he was seated. Gilt survived the shooting.
Putnam County sheriff's officials said the boy had recently learned how to unbuckle himself. He climbed out of his seat, picked up the gun and fired through the front seat, hitting his mother in the back, investigators said.