Prosecutor: Boy, 4, dead of gunshot believed self-inflicted

PEMBERTON, N.J. (AP) — A 4-year-old boy who gained access to an unsecured handgun in a New Jersey home died after an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Police and emergency medical personnel were called to a home in the Country Lakes section of Pemberton Township shortly after 7 p.m. Friday and found Lincoln Mack with a gunshot wound, the Burlington County prosecutor's office and township police said.

The boy was transported to Capital Health Emergency Department at Deborah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8 p.m., prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the investigation indicates the boy gained access to an unsecured handgun in the home.

“The evidence indicates that the shooting was accidental and appeared to be self-inflicted," prosecutors said.

The boy's parents and two siblings were home at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said. The investigation is ongoing and no charges were immediately filed, they said.

“Our hearts are with Lincoln’s family in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy,” Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “However, an accident like this is entirely preventable. I urge everyone who owns a gun to go — right now — and make sure it is secure and not accessible to any children in their home.”

“It’s a very, very unfortunate situation,” Mayor David Patriarca said earlier. “My heart goes out to the family.”

The Burlington County Times reported that the child was a pupil at the district’s Early Childhood Education Center for 3- and 4-year-olds. School officials planned to meet Saturday to make preparations for Monday morning.

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This story has been corrected to show the boy was taken to Capital Health Emergency Department at Deborah Hospital, not Virtua Deborah Hospital.

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