No charges to be filed in case of 2-year-old shot and killed in southwest Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department said police do not expect to file charges after a 2-year-old was shot and killed inside a home in Louisville.

Lt. Emily McKinley, head of the LMPD Homicide Unit, made that announcement shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

The shooting happened Monday afternoon inside a home on Huff Lane, near Cane Run Road. The 2-year-old boy and his 3-year-old brother were inside a room when it happened.

Investigators said the gun was on the top of a closet but was not locked away.

Police aren't sure which toddler fired the gun and said the adult who was watching the boys at the time was in another room when the shooting happened.

"This is obviously a very terrible and tragic accident, and it should really hammer home the necessity of securing your weapons," McKinley said. 

The victim's father, Jesse Mefford, told WDRB News on Monday night that his two sons were being watched by their adult cousin when they found a 9 mm handgun.

"My 3 year old got into my gun safe and don't know how he got it open, but he got my pistol out," Mefford said. "It only takes a couple seconds."

Mefford said only a couple people know the code and have a key to the safe that's usually locked.

"I've always been extremely safe about my guns," he said. "I took the time to carry/conceal, took all the classes, where to keep your gun and all this."

LMPD spokesperson Dwight Mitchell told reporters on the scene that it is tough case for officers to investigate it.

"I know this is tough on you as well, and it should be for anyone," Mitchell said. "Someone that young, in this type of condition at this stage in life, it's very tragic anytime it happens. Even if you don't have children, I think if you have a heart you would know this is a very difficult investigation to have at this point and certainly our prayers are with the family."

Mefford said he was at work and his pregnant wife was at a doctor's appointment when the accident happened.

"I lost my baby today," he said. "I gave him my middle name. He looked just like me when he came out. As soon as I saw him, I knew that was my boy."

The tragic accident has sparked a conversation in the Louisville community about gun safety.

"It's very important, and I want to hammer that home to people who do have guns in their house and who do have small children that's it's never too early to start that conversation to let them know what do you do if you find a gun," McKinley said. 

Gun safety experts, like police, are stressing the importance of securing your weapons. 

"What I encourage other parents to do is learn from this," said Barry Laws, CEO of OpenRange Gun Shop. "Don't just say, 'Oh, my kids know better.' No, they don't know better."

Laws said if you use your gun for personal protection and need quick access, the best option is to use a safe. However, as this case demonstrates, an electronic safe or combination safe only serves its purpose if you actually keep your gun locked and secured inside. If you don't use your gun frequently, keep it unloaded and use a gun lock as another layer of protection. 

"It's completely preventable," Laws said. "You have to lock your guns away."

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