4-year-old fatally shoots himself in Bethel trooper housing

An Alaska State Trooper cruiser parked on Nome’s Front Street in January 2015. (Photo by Matthew F. Smith/ KNOM)
An Alaska State Trooper cruiser parked on Nome’s Front Street in January 2015. (Photo by Matthew F. Smith/ KNOM)

A 4-year-old died in an Alaska State Trooper housing unit in Bethel on Monday evening, despite the efforts of emergency responders.

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After an investigation earlier today, officials believe the child was playing by himself in the living room when he got hold of a handgun and fatally shot himself. The gun was privately owned, according to the trooper dispatch.

Alaska State Trooper spokesman Tim DeSpain says there were two adults and two other children in the home, but based on a preliminary investigation, no one was in the room when the gun went off. The dispatch says the next of kin was on the scene when the incident happened.

Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters says a request has been made to send the child’s body to the State Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy. Peters says the child’s father is a state trooper and wasn’t home when the child was injured.