3-year-old wounded himself in Lake Stevens shooting, detectives say

LAKE STEVENS — A 3-year-old boy shot himself in the mouth last month near Lake Stevens.

That’s what detectives with the Snohomish County sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit now believe.

The shooting was reported around 10 p.m. Nov. 21 in the 600 block of East Lake Shore Drive.

The child was in a bedroom playing with a 4-year-old neighbor, according to the sheriff’s office. The boy’s father heard a loud noise from the room and forced open the locked door.

The 3-year-old had a mouth injury, and his father initially feared he had hit the boy with the door when he forced it open.

At Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, doctors determined the injury to the boy’s mouth was a gunshot wound. The child was flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition. He suffered extensive injuries to his mouth and face. He has since been released from the hospital.

On Monday, the sheriff’s office provided an update on its ongoing investigation.

“He shot himself,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. “It was not the 4-year-old.”

There had been speculation that the 4-year-old neighbor may have accidentally shot the boy while the two were playing.

Court papers show access to guns had been an issue in the home before the shooting.

Last year, the man’s wife sought a protection order for herself and their boy, then 18 months old. The man was accused of shoving her, grabbing her arms and making threats over multiple occasions, including suicidal threats. The court didn’t find sufficient evidence of domestic violence, records show.

The wife also alleged the man left his guns unsecured around the house when his then-12-year-old daughter came to visit.

The woman at the time said she was concerned for the young boy’s safety.

The man said he kept his guns locked up but his wife left hers unsecured. He said her allegations stemmed from relationship arguments and her seeking custody of their son.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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