Mother sentenced to 24 years in prison after son, 2, shoots self with gun he mistook for toy

A mother was sentenced to 24 years in prison for the 2018 death of her 2-year-old son who fatally shot himself with her pistol believing it was a squirt gun. 

According to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a shooting on Oct. 21, 2018, where they found Melissa Adamson with the deceased child in her arms. 

“Life saving measures were initiated and the child was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” authorities said in a press release. 

At the time detectives arrived to the scene they did not consider the death a homicide, but the Gazette reported that Adamson eventually admitted that negligence caused the death of her son. 

Authorities told the Gazette that the child loved to play with squirt guns and believed he was playing a game when he put the loaded gun in his mouth before pulling the trigger. 

Adamson also told authorities that she is a recovering methamphetamine addict, adding that threatening text messages from a drug dealer prompted her to keep the gun loaded. 

Authorities said an ax and drug needles were also found within reach of her son and other children.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.