3-year-old shot himself with father's gun, police say

Channel 2's Robert Ray reports many are wondering what could have prevented this tragedy.

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — A 3-year-old Paulding County boy who accidentally shot and killed himself used his father's gun, according to police.

Officers say Holston Cole found his father’s Ruger LCP .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol inside the home on Camp Circle Tuesday morning.

In the 911 call, the father, David Cole, told the dispatcher that the gun was in his backpack.

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An autopsy showed Holston Cole shot himself in the chest and that the gunshot wound was “consistent with being both accidental and self-inflicted.”

Holston Cole lived in the home with his father, mother and younger twin sisters.

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The tragedy has shaken the small town of Dallas, Georgia, with many questioning how it happened.

“You put it up, you put it where you can’t reach it or you lock it,” said Paulding County resident Laurie Head.

Deputies say they are investigating if that was the only gun in the home at the time.

“At this point we don't know if there were other guns in the residence but that is something we are looking into as to whether there are more weapons in the house,” said Cpl. Ashley Henson.

David and Haley Cole released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying, "The family appreciates all the prayers from the community and would ask for the courtesy of privacy during this time. One thing remains, God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for everyone and He rose from the grave. When we believe in Him, death is not the end, but the beginning of everlasting life with Jesus."

A visitation will be held for the family of Holston Cole at West Ridge Church on Saturday at 12 p.m. with a memorial service immediately following at 2 p.m.. West Ridge Church is located at 3522 Hiram Acworth Hwy. (State Hwy. 92) in Dallas.