11-year-old playing with gun accidentally shoots self in head at West Side apartment, police say

Officers said the child was playing with his friends when he found the gun

SAN ANTONIO – An 11-year-old boy who was playing with a gun accidentally shot himself in the head at a near West Side apartment, according to San Antonio police.

The shooting happened just after 9 a.m. Friday at The Terraces at Haven for Hope in the 700 block of N. San Marcos, near Ruiz Street.

The boy was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, a San Antonio Fire Department spokesman said, but he was breathing and communicating at the time.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the boy was playing with four of his friends, and his parents were also inside the home.

He found the gun in a drawer, thought it wasn’t loaded, and accidentally shot himself, McManus said.

“I believe that the dad thought the gun was secured, or secluded at least, and didn’t realize that the little boy had it obviously and ... I guess, didn’t realize he would get it but could get it,” he said. “But he did, and that’s where we are right now.”

Police are interviewing his parents and friends.

Although the apartment is located next to Haven for Hope, it is not part of the homeless service organization’s daily operations.


University Health Director of Injury Prevention Jennifer Northway says guns should be kept locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.

UH is part of a coalition of organizations, Gun Safety 4 Bexar, which offers free trigger and cable locks to gun owners. You can find information on how to get one HERE.

For gun owners who want to keep their firearms loaded, Northway says there are gun safes available that can be quickly opened with a thumbprint or code. The key, she said, is practicing -- while the gun is unloaded -- getting it out quickly.

“We have found that folks who are feeling that way about having their weapon accessible to them, that a safe in that manner may help them feel like they have more accessibility to it,” Northway said.

Simply hiding your guns won’t do it.

“Unfortunately, we can think that we’ve chosen a good hiding place. And when kids are playing hide-and-go-seek, when kids are, you know, again, just kind of looking through the home, it may not be as safe of a location as we think,” Northway said.

When it comes to telling your children what to do if they come across a gun, Northway says the messaging is to: stop, don’t touch, leave the area, and tell an adult.

Northway said it’s also OK, if your child is going to a friend’s house, to ask their parents if there are any guns in the home, and confirm the weapons will be locked up and separate from any ammunition while your child is there.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.