“This is a call from me to the citizens of New Orleans. We need to do a better job of securing our guns,” the NOPD superintendent said.
NEW ORLEANS — A two-year-old is hospitalized after accidentally shooting himself at the Costco gas station on Tuesday afternoon. The child was in the back seat of a car while his brother waited in line for gas, arrest records show.
Zyaire Cornelius, 18, was arrested for second-degree cruelty to a minor and possession of a stolen firearm.
According to his arrest report, Cornelius picked up his two-year-old brother from a nursery near Costco and then stopped to get gas.
As he stood in line, his brother was talking to him when he then heard a single gunshot.
Cornelius told detectives he looked in the back seat and saw his brother shoot himself in the leg with his Glock 19 pistol. He said he forgot the gun was in the back seat.
His arrest report also shows the gun was reported stolen from St. Tammany Parish.
A judge has set $70,000 bond for Cornelius.
“Safe storage, safe storage, safe storage,” said Julia Fleckman who helps run the Gun Violence Policy Lab with Tulane University.
This is the third shooting of a small child in New Orleans this year. Fleckman studies how to prevent gun violence. One of the biggest problems she discovered was the unsafe storage of guns.
“I think it’s a real misconception that parents think, ‘Oh, my child won’t find it when it’s hidden’, when in fact children are really smart and likely to find it. Little ones kids know how and will figure out how to shoot a gun,” Fleckman said.
With funding from the Centers for Disease Control, the program is partnering with the city’s health department to start giving away free gun safes, trying to prevent more incidents like Costco’s.
“You can buy a biometric safe that your fingerprint is the only thing that opens it, it might have a backup lock, for about $100, it’s small enough to fit in your car and I think it’s It’s a bit about education and just having more access,” Fleckman said. “We see it as a very big need now.
These gun safes will be offered starting next week only to University Medical Center patients who are there for a gun-related injury.
Later next month, there will be around 300 available to the general public. Locations and times are still being worked out. Eyewitness News will bring you updates on how to get one when we get them.
After a 2-year-old child was fatally shot last month, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson echoed the gun safety message.
“This is a call from me to the citizens of New Orleans. We need to do a better job of securing our guns,” Ferguson said June 23.
He said that in more than 20% of auto burglaries this year, a firearm was taken.
“It’s very concerning. So we’re asking you not to leave your guns in your vehicle. It’s no use to you. You can’t protect yourself if your gun is in your vehicle,” Ferguson said.
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