Gun Used by 4-Year Old Belonged to Mother

Gun Used by 4-Year Old Belonged to Mother

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) -- The gun used by a 4-year-old who accidentally shot and killed his 3-year-old brother belonged to the boys' mother, who carried the weapon during her overnight job as a security guard, police said Wednesday.

Ryker Lambert was shot in the head Tuesday morning. The mother, Reagan Lambert, was sleeping after her night shift ended when the children got a hold of the keys to the safe where the gun was located.

"It looks like the little boy knew where his mom kept the keys and was able to connect the fact that the keys opened up the safe to get to his mom's gun," said Captain Craig Black of the West Valley Police Department.

The boys had been playing, and a toy gun was found near Ryker's body.

The boy who fired the real gun woke his mother up and told her he shot his brother. But by the time paramedics arrived, Ryker was dead.

Their mother works as an armed security guard on the night shift for a security company. She apparently didn't hear the gun go off, officers said.

Riley told police he was holding the gun when it went off. Police said it's likely he doesn't know the magnitude of what happened.

"I think he sees the sadness of his family, but I don't think it's possible he fully comprehends what happened," said Black.

The state's Division of Child and Family Services had received three anonymous calls in the last year about the boys' lack of supervision. The most recent call came in September or October, a DCFS spokeswoman said, but the case was closed in November. Each time the department received a call, police were notified and DCFS investigators went to the family's home, but nothing was found to justify claims against the family.

"We cannot remove a child based on a rumor or an allegation. We need to have evidence that the child is at risk or harm," said DCFS spokeswoman Carol Sisco.

The Division of Child and Family Services will continue to work with the family by talking to them about alternative day care and other services they provide, Sisco said, but they have no plans to remove the boy from the home.

"He's going through enough," Sisco said.

Calls to the family's home went unanswered. Sisco said the woman and her son stayed Tuesday night with relatives.

Police have ruled the shooting accidental, but Black said a detective will finish a probe and send evidence to the district attorney's office, who will consider whether to press charges.

"This looks like an accident and we don't foresee it being classified as anything other than a horrible accident," said Black.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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