The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, August 13, 2002  

A Dead Child in the House

Douglas J. Donohue is dead.

Donohue, 12, of Millsboro, Del., accidentally shot himself to death Monday morning while playing with a loaded handgun he found in his home, according to Delaware State Police, the News-Journal (Wilmington) reports today.

Donohue was baby-sitting his sisters when he found a loaded .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun in his parents’ bedroom, police said.

According to the News-Journal, “The boy began playing with the gun in the living room as his sisters, ages 9 and 10, looked on, police said. The boy pointed the gun at one of his sisters, but did not pull the trigger before sitting down in a recliner and removing two of the bullets in the gun, along with the magazine, police said.

“The boy mistakenly left one bullet in the chamber before pointing the gun at his face and pulling the trigger, police said. He died around 11:25 a.m., they said.

“His sisters were still in the room with him, said Cpl. Bruce Harris, a state police spokesman. After the shooting, they ran from the home to find a neighbor. . . .

“The boy’s parents, Fred and Julie Donohue, were at work at the time of the shooting and were interviewed by troopers Monday, along with their daughters, Harris said. The gun belonged to them, he said.

“Reached at her home Monday night, Julie Donohue said her family moved to the home on Winter Road last year and some boxes remained unpacked. She said she suspects the gun was in one of those boxes. . . .

“‘I didn’t even know where the damned thing was,’ she said.

“No charges were filed Monday and the investigation continues, Harris said.”

Take it away, Ann & Co.

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