Kootenai County sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller told The Associated Press the woman was shopping with her son and three other children. Her family had come to the area to visit relatives, he said.
The woman, whose identity was not released, had a concealed weapons permit. Miller said the young boy was left in a shopping cart, reached into the victim’s purse and grabbed a small caliber handgun, which discharged one time. “It appears to be a pretty tragic accident,” Miller said.
The woman’s husband was not in the store when the shooting happened at about 10:20 a.m. Miller said the man arrived shortly after the shooting. All the children were taken to a relative’s house. The shooting occurred in the Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho, a town about 40 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington.
The store closed and was not expected to reopen until Wednesday morning. Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said in a statement the shooting was a “very sad and tragic accident.” “We are working closely with the local sheriff’s department while they investigate what happened,” Buchanan said.