It's a tragedy that has neighbors and law enforcement lost for words. Three-year-old Michael Easter got hold of a handgun inside the family's Liberty Township home, then accidentally shot and killed himself. The boy's mother was in the house at the time. She called 911 and her husband, Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Easter who was on his way to work.
"We reached out to first responders that were there, folks that may have seen something, heard something," said MSP Jackson Post Commander F/Lt. Michael Krumm.
MSP investigators are trying to piece together what happened. They've submitted the weapon and shell casings to the forensic lab, but said what happened on Saturday is a tragic accident.
"In these cases there are a lot of things you look at, but in this case I would be shocked to see anything else but an accidental shooting," said F/Lt. Krumm.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is not taking part in the investigation, but will provide grief counselors to the staff.
"You go to a lot of tragic events in this line of work, it's just a lot different when it's somebody close to you," said Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand.
Sheriff Rand says Deputy Easter is taking time off to be with the family and his office is offering their full support, while MSP is continuing the investigation.
"Obviously it was a loaded weapon, it was unsecured and so how Michael got to that, that's one of the things that we're trying to determine right now," said F.Lt. Michael Krumm.
However, investigators say the answer to that question may never come to light.