A toddler in the back seat kills the driver of a car when he got his hands on a gun. The mother, who was the driver, was killed instantly from the back seat after the two-year-old toddler accidentally fired a weapon that had been left in the vehicle.
Patrice Price, 26, was pronounced dead on scene. The gun belonged to Price’s boyfriend, who works as a security guard.
“Initial witness accounts indicate that a child in the back seat of the vehicle got ahold of a gun and discharged the firearm, sending a single bullet into the driver’s back,” the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “The MCSO investigation into the death is on-going.”
Andre Price, who was distraught over his daughter’s death, said that she was a hard-working mother of three.
“I have a knot in my chest. They won’t even let me see my daughter. I wanted to hold my daughter for one last time,” he said.
The toddler in the back seat that killed the driver saw the gun slid out from under the seat. The Milwaukee woman was driving her boyfriend’s car when the gun slid out. The bullet went through the driver’s seat and hit Price in the back.
Adding to the tragedy was the fact Price had borrowed a car from her boyfriend, a security guard, because hers had been stolen four days earlier. When her car was stolen, the car seats for her sons — the 2-year-old and a 1-year-old — were also stolen, said Stewart.
Deputies found her boyfriend’s security guard gun belt on the floor of the front passenger seat, and a .40-caliber gun on the floor of the back seat behind the driver’s seat, according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.
Immediately after the shooting, other drivers stopped and pushed the car out of traffic before deputies arrived. Price was pronounced dead at the scene despite efforts from deputies and paramedics to revive her, authorities said.
A vigil drew about 50 people to a family member’s home Wednesday night. Friends and family members hugged and cried, talked about Price and waited for Price’s 7-year-old daughter to arrive before they released dozens of brightly colored Mylar balloons into they sky in Price’s memory. Mourners gathered around the little girl in a brightly colored pink flowered jacket to hug her and wipe away tears.
“We are going to appreciate the life Patrice led,” said Pastor Charles Barnett. “Grieve, cry, release your emotions. Above all, Patrice was a good woman.”
In addition to her children, Price also took care of her sister, who was paralyzed in a shooting several months ago. A Chicago native, Price moved to Milwaukee about five years ago and was working at a group home when she died.
“She always kept a smile on her face and she was going through a lot,” said Michelle Kane, who had been friends with Price for about two years.
Price reported her Nissan vehicle stolen about 9 a.m. Friday near N. 12th St. and W. North Ave. and officers have not recovered it or made any arrests, a Milwaukee police spokesman said Wednesday.
“She would have never had a gun in the vehicle,” said Kane. Her child “never would have found it and she would have been alive if those punks wouldn’t have stolen her car.”
A fund has been set up in her name to help with funeral expenses and for donations to her children — Patrice Price Memorial Fund, at any branch of Educators Credit Union.
“The baby’s going to need some therapy,” Kane said of the son who pulled the trigger. “Kids are going to be cruel and he’s going to find out in the wrong way, and I don’t want it to affect him in the long term.”
In Milwaukee, negligent handling of a firearm was found to be the primary factor in three homicides in 2015, compared with one in 2014, according to a Milwaukee Police Department report.