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Mother of 5 Fatally Shot by Child Who Found Gun in Her Purse

CORNELIUS, NORTH CAROLINA — A mother is dead after one of her children found a gun inside her purse and shot her Monday evening, according to Cornelius police.  Officers responded to reports of a shooting at Cornelius Village Apartments on Meridian Street off Catawba Avenue around 6:55 p.m.

Upon arrival, officers found 25-year-old Gabriel Alexis Henderson dead in the back bedroom of her apartment. A small semi-automatic handgun was found on the bed next to her. Investigators determined, after speaking with witnesses, that Henderson and her five children were the only people inside the apartment at the time of the shooting. Detectives determined that four of the children were in the room with their mother at the time of the shooting. The oldest child was in the living room at the time, separated from the others.

Investigators believe that one of the children found the unsecured firearm inside their mom’s purse. The gun discharged, fatally striking Henderson and injuring her youngest child, who was transported to Atrium Main Hospital in Charlotte by MEDIC and is expected to survive.

Reactions from neighbors were mixed. While some said that Henderson was a loving mother who always looked out for all the children in the community and would be missed, at least one woman questioned why she had an unsecured gun that was accessible to children.

The incident is tragic…but to call it an accident, as local media outlets have done, is not accurate.  The mother lost her life to her own negligent and irresponsible decisions by failing to maintain control of the firearm, either by securely carrying it in a quality concealed holster on her body or properly securing it in a locked container while in the home.  As a result, her children have lost their mother at young ages and the course of their lives have been changed forever.

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