UPDATE re: Idaho Mother Shot By Toddler

    In response to reader emails, I’m writing an update on the case of the Idaho mother who was accidentally shot and killed by her 2-year-old son in Walmart right after Christmas. The details everyone has been wondering about have been released, and in some ways those details only seem to open the case to more questions.

    What happened?

    The basic outline of the incident was apparently that the child removed the gun from the purse and fired a single shot. That bullet struck Veronica Rutledge in the head, and she was immediately killed. Rutledge was standing just a few feet from her son. The store manager was apparently nearby, reached the site of the shooting quickly, and took the gun away from the toddler. Immediately following the shooting the store was emptied of patrons as law enforcement and other first responders arrived and took over. This is simply a rough outline of events but does answer some reader questions.

    What gun was used?

    According to the Kootenai sheriff’s department the gun in question was a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield chambered in 9mm. Factory trigger is set at 6.5 pounds. On the somewhat larger M&P, there’s a .300” travel from a rest; that information is not listed for the Shield model on Smith and Wesson’s site. Empty, the gun weighs 19 ounces. It is 0.95” wide. Specs will be listed at the bottom of this article. There has been no word regarding what type of ammunition the gun was loaded with or whether Rutledge owned a model with or without a thumb safety (and if she did, whether or not it was engaged).

    What purse was used?

    The gun was stored in a pocket in a concealed carry purse that had been a Christmas gift from Rutledge’s husband. The purse was a Gun Tote’n Mamas brand but police did not say which design it was specifically.

    Did she have firearms experience?

    Although none among us can say with authority what her actual skill level was, Rutledge’s family has said she and her husband spent significant time at the range as well as hunting. All interviews I have read make it seem clear she spent time with her gun; it was not simply dropped in a purse and forgotten.

    As mentioned in the original piece, she did have a concealed carry permit. However, it was not an Idaho permit, it was a Washington state CPL. Idaho does have reciprocity with Washington. However, she was a resident of Blackfoot, Idaho, at the time of her death and according to news accounts appears to have been an Idaho resident since high school, if not birth.

    Rutledge’s family has made it abundantly clear they do not appreciate the attempts being made to use her death as a call for gun control.


    Gun specs:

    • Model: M&P9 Shield™
    • Frame Size: Compact
    • Caliber: 9mm
    • Action: Striker Fire
    • Capacity: 7 and 8 Round Magazines
    • Barrel Length: 3.1” (7.9 cm)
    • Front Sight: White Dot
    • Rear Sight: White 2-Dot
    • Trigger Pull: 6.5 lbs +/-
    • Overall Length: 6.1” (15.5 cm)
    • Frame Width: .95” (2.4 cm)
    • Overall Height: 4.6” (11.7 cm)
    • Grip: Polymer
    • Weight: 19.0 oz. (523.7 g)
    • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
    • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
    • Frame Material: Polymer
    • Finish: Black/Durable Corrosion Resistant

    Related links:

    Police statement: http://www.kcsheriff.com/documents/NewDetailsReleasedonHaydenWalmartShooting.pdf

    Gun Tote’n Mamas: http://www.guntotenmamas.com/

    Smith and Wesson M&P Shield: with safety: http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_809560_-1_780153_757781_757781_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y

    without safety: http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_831056_-1_757781_757781_757781_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y

    TFB Staffer

    TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.