Tulsa Wife, Mother, Reservist Killed In Accidental Shooting
TULSA, Oklahoma - Police are calling the death of 26-year-old Christa Engles a terrible tragedy after her 3-year-old son got her gun and accidentally shot her with it.
Christa Engles was a member of the Army Reserves, a wife, and devoted mother to her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. Her friends say Christa cracked them up with her funny facial expressions and would stop whatever she was doing to help someone in need.
Engles and Carol Toyne have been friends since they were 14, growing up in Pryor.
"She was strong and spoke her mind and generous to a fault. She was loving, an amazing daughter, friend, mom, sister. She was just a good person," Toyne said.
Together, they posed for pictures at the prom. Then later, both joined the Army Reserves.
"She decided she could make a bigger impact by serving her country, not only that, but someday wanted to become a drill sergeant to affect other people's careers in the military," Toyne said.
Police say Christa's 9 mm Springfield handgun was in a holster, and she set it on a nightstand while she turned her back to change her daughter's diaper on the couch.
They say her little boy somehow picked it up and fired it, hitting Christa in the head.
"Her daughter especially will never have a chance to really know her mom," childhood friend Carol Toyne said.
Lots of families will be getting together for the holidays and might have children visiting, so gun safety experts say it's more important than ever to make sure your firearms are secure.
Many companies make all sizes of lock boxes and safes that can be used at home or inside cars. Some need a key, others work with fingerprint ID.
"Just like anything else, complacency is the thing that's most dangerous," said Eric Fuson, 2A Shooter Center general manager.
"Honestly, the more you deal with a firearm, the more likely we are to be complacent because it becomes a natural part of your day-to-day life."
It's a fine line between keeping a gun secure enough other people can't get to it and available quickly if you need it, but, experts say it's impossible to be too safe and if this tragedy teaches us anything, it's that the anything can happen, in the blink of an eye.