Boy in Wal-Mart Shooting of His Mom Unzipped Purse to Get Gun

Boy in Wal-Mart Shooting of His Mom Unzipped Purse to Get Gun


The two-year-old boy who shot and killed his mother in a Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho used his mom’s gun, which he obtained by unzipping a special compartment in her purse, to do the deed. The boy’s mother, Veronica J. Rutledge, had a concealed weapon permit, and kept her gun in her purse. That is where the boy found the gun he used to shoot her in the head with and kill her on Tuesday morning, December 30.

Rutledge, 29, was shopping at the Wal-Mart with her son and three nieces when the boy, who had been seated in the shopping cart by his mother, unzipped the compartment that held the small-caliber weapon. and fired once, shooting her in the head and killing her. Veronica had gone to the Wal-Mart to spend some gift cards her family had received for Christmas.

According to her father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, in an interview with The Washington Post, Veronica’s husband, Colt, had just given her the purse with the concealed compartment for her gun on Christmas, as a present. She and her husband were both gun owners and practiced their marksmanship at local shooting ranges. Terry said that guns were a big part of his son and Veronica’s lives.

Terry Rutledge does not like how some media sources have been suggesting that his daughter-in-law was “irresponsible,” by having her gun is a place where her son could so easily get it. He said in a brief interview with The Associated Press that Veronica had not acted in an “irresponsible,” manner by carrying her gun with her in her purse. Terry defended her by saying that she had not simply placed the gun “loosely into her purse.”

According to the 2012 statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Center in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Idaho at that time ranked in the top third of states that people have concealed weapons permits. Approximately seven percent of adults in the state had such permits.

In Kootenai County in northern Idaho, according to Kootenai County sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller on Wednesday, almost 16,000 concealed weapons permits have been issued. The county has around 140,000 residents, and Miller stated that it was “commonplace” for people there “to have a concealed weapons permit.” Most businesses in the county, he added, allow firearms to be taken into their stores.

Miller said that the police were able to determine what had happened by using surveillance video provided by the Wal-Mart.

Though Veronica Rutledge lived in Blackfoot, in southeastern Idaho, she and her family had been spending Christmas in Hayden to visit relatives there. Rutledge was a nuclear scientist, employed by the Idaho National Laboratory located near the city of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The laboratory there conducts nuclear and energy research for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Veronica, according to the Chicago Tribune, had been the valedictorian of her class at her high school in Harrison, Idaho. She earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Idaho.

Veronica J. Rutledge was found by deputies who responded dead, in the electronics section of the Wal-Mart in Hayden. Her husband, Colt, 32, got to the store soon after he had been notified about what had happened. He arrived there around 10:29 a.m. The children were reportedly taken to the house of a nearby relative.

As with many other states, gun rights are a major issue in Idaho. Earlier in 2014, legislation was passed by that allowed concealed weapons to be carried, with a permit, on Idaho’s university and public college campuses, though all eight of Idaho’s university college presidents were opposed to the legislation. The law, according to gun-rights advocates and the legislators who voted it in, would help make the Second Amendment even stronger.

The two-year-old boy who shot his mother once in her head and killed her at the Hayden, Idaho, Wal-Mart, used his mom’s own gun against her in this tragic incident. Under most circumstances, the gun that Veronica J. Rutledge had concealed in the special zippered compartment of her purse would likely have been there just when she might need it, in an emergency. Sadly, her son, while probably just being a curious child, managed to unzip the compartment, and with one shot, ended his mother’s young life.

Written By Douglas Cobb

ABC News
Chicago Tribune
New York Times
Photo by Mike KalasnikFlickr License
(Photo is of a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Alabama)