Father Charged After 2-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Herself - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Father Charged After 2-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Herself

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(CNN) - A 2-year-old girl fatally shot herself in Fayetteville, North Carolina, over the weekend, and the toddler's father faces involuntary manslaughter charges, police said.

Melvin Andre Clark Jr., 19, who was arrested Sunday, also was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Fayetteville, North Carolina, police spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce said.

The girl, Samarri Tyana Beauford, was playing in the living room of the home where she lived with her aunt and grandmother Saturday when she found a loaded .22-caliber pistol that police say Clark had left under the couch, Joyce said.

Joyce would not comment on where the toddler shot herself or whether she died instantly, but said, "A child that small, they don't have the strength to pull a trigger with their index finger, but they are strong enough to use pressure from their two thumbs.

"Typically, they'll be looking at the weapon when these things happen."

The toddler was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center about 12:30 p.m., where she died, CNN affiliate WRAL reported. No one else was injured, the station said..

Clark was being held in the Cumberland County Detention Center on a $50,000 secured bond and was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon, Joyce said. He had not yet been assigned an attorney.

Police pursued the involuntary manslaughter charge because Samarri was killed in a "reckless or careless manner" or via a "heedless indifference" to the safety of others, Joyce said.

Several outstanding warrants were found when police ran Clark's name, including misdemeanor cruelty to animals, larceny and marijuana possession charges, police said, and Clark had previously been sentenced on breaking and entering, larceny and possession of a firearm by a minor convictions.

This is at least the third instance since June of a child dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In New Orleans, a 5-year-old girl died June 23 after she came "into contact with a .38-caliber revolver and accidentally shot herself in the head" while her mother was at a store, police told CNN.

About two months later, a 3-year-old boy in Dundee, Michigan, found a .40-caliber handgun belonging to a family friend on a closet floor in his home. He died after accidentally shooting himself in the head, police said.

Fewer than two weeks ago, 2-year-old Michael Garcia Jr. was taken to a hospital after shooting himself with a .45-caliber handgun registered to his mother, according to CNN affiliate WFTV. The boy's injuries were not life-threatening, the station reported.

According to the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 703 children under the age of 15 died in accidental firearms deaths between 2001 and 2010, the latest year for which the agency's statistics on fatalities are available.

During the same period, 7,766 children under the age of 14 suffered accidental firearm injuries -- about one injury for every million children.