ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The father of a 3-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed himself in north county on Thursday is being held on child endangerment charges.
"My heart just goes out to that family, they've lost so much for nothing," said Clara Graham, who was watching her grandchildren nearby at the time of the shooting.
The charges come after police said the toddler got ahold of his dad's loaded gun and shot himself at point-blank range in the head.
"That's the worst thing. I know you have to protect yourself, but it's just ridiculous to have weapons like that around the house," said Graham.
It happened at the Laurel Park Apartments on Jacobi Avenue in north St. Louis County.
Police say the little boy, Rodney March III, found his dad's loaded .40 caliber Glock in a bedroom around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
After being rushed to the emergency room by his mother and then some police she flagged down, March died at the hospital.
"Being a children's hospital in St. Louis is different than being a children's hospital in other parts of the country," said Joshua Dugal, a trauma program manager at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.
It's unclear which hospital March was taken to, but officials at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon said incidents like these have reached new extremes.
"In 2018 -- all of 2018 -- we had two deaths from gunshot wounds at our hospital. Now we're up to six," said Dugal.
Those numbers have caused them to roll out a gun lock program based solely on prevention.
"What it does is it feeds up through where the magazine and the bullets would go and it comes out through where the bullets are ejected and it just makes the gun where it's unable to close and to fire."
The locks are free to everyone, no questions asked.
Their sole aim is to change the startling statistics of gun violence against children in St. Louis.
"I'm just heartbroken for that family," said Graham. "It's just ridiculous,"
Dugal said they've given about 400 of those red gun locks since July.
He said the locks are 100-percent effective in preventing accidental shootings.