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Mother accidentally shot, killed after young child finds gun in her purse

Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 10:36 PM EST
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CORNELIUS, N.C. (WBTV) - A 25-year-old mother was accidentally shot to death after her young child found a loaded gun in her purse in Cornelius.

Police say one of the five children in her apartment at the time was also hit with gunfire.

Cornelius Police responded to an apartment on Meridian Street in reference to a shooting on Monday around 6:55 p.m.

When officers arrived, a woman was found in the back bedroom of her apartment. The victim, Gabriel Alexis Henderson, was pronounced dead by MEDIC.

“What are they doing with guns? You know, and they have children,” said Juanita Johnson, who has lived across the street from the Cornelius Village Apartments, where the shooting happened, for 14 years.

While Johnson said her heart hurts for what happened, she also said the shooting could have been avoided.

“If you have a gun it should be in a gun safe. Why is it in her purse? Lock it up. What’s going on?” said Johnson.

Cornelius Town officials say they got a call late Monday of a shooting at the apartment along Meridian Street.

Inside, they found the body of Henderson. Five of her children were also in the home at the time of the incident.

The youngest also was struck with gunfire. That child was rushed to the hospital but all indications are that child should be OK.

Johnson said she didn’t know the family but knows the management of the complex well.

She said they’re pretty strict when it comes to following the rules.

“They got rid of all the troublemakers, so it’s been good so far,” Johnson said. “Haven’t had no problems.”

There’s even a sign as you drive into the complex saying guns aren’t allowed on the property.

Johnson said she’s worried about what’s going to happen to the children.

“I want to know who is going to take care of those kids now? Is there a father?” Johnson asked.

Johnson told WBTV she hears about things like this happening out there, but it’s different when it’s this close to home.

“I said there’s always something going on, everywhere,” Johnson said. “I say, ‘Why did it have to hit home?’ Because this is like home.”

As per standard protocol police won’t be releasing the names of the children involved because of their age.

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