A three-year-old boy had been playing with a handgun he found in his mother's purse before he shot himself, police in Ohio have said.
Marques Green suffered a fatal wound to the chest after discovering the weapon at his home in Hamilton, near Cincinnati.
His mother made a 911 call to say her son was not getting a pulse.
In the emergency audiotape released by police, Elizabeth Green is heard saying she carried the gun in her purse, and had put the purse down after returning home.
"My son just shot himself, and I'm not getting a pulse... Oh, my God, Oh, my God, I'm not getting a pulse... I don't think he's alive," she yelled during the call.
A neighbour said she heard a woman screaming and rushed to her balcony to see what was happening, according to reports.
"She was holding her son and he was lifeless, just completely lifeless," Amanda Reed, who lives across the street, told WLWT-TV.
Authorities are working to decide whether anyone should be charged in the case.
Ohio prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he will take the case to a grand jury next week to decide whether there should be any charges.
It is the second apparently accidental gunshot death of a young person this month in the area.
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