CHICAGO (CBS) – Merrillville Police say two children were inside a car outside of a Merrillville store when one of them shot and injured their pregnant mother.
Merrillville police were called to the parking lot of Plato’s Closet located at 359 E. 81st Avenue just before 4 p.m.
One of the children, a 3 year old girl, somehow got their hands on the weapon and shot their mother, Shaneque Thomas. The second child is 1 year old, police said.
Thomas’ boyfriend, the girl’s father, left a loaded gun in the car to go inside the store to try on pants. The little girl grabbed the gun and accidently fired one round, striking Thomas in the upper chest.
“We ran outside and then we saw this lady holding her shirt and then blood fell everwhere,” said Plato’s Closet employee Hadassah Zirkle. “A little kid was next to her.”
“I got the kids inside. The little girl was just staring at her mom.”
Another employee said she tried to keep the little girl from seeing her mother bleeding.
Thomas was transported to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville. She was then flown to Loyola University Medical Center, where she was listed in critical but stable condition.
Police said they are seeking child endangerment charges against the girl’s father, and will meet with prosecutors on Thursday.