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12-year-old admitted to accidentally killing mom, authorities say

CBS News logo CBS News 8/9/2022 Caitlin O'Kane
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A 12-year-old boy admitted to shooting and killing his mom after initially lying to detectives about what happened, authorities said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Alabama said deputies began investigating the death of a 29-year-old woman in Forestdale, Alabama on Monday. The woman has been identified as Ayobiyi Cook.

During the investigation, detectives determined that Cook's 12-year-old son, who has not been named, unintentionally discharged a firearm, striking and killing his mom. 

"The child originally fabricated a story that detectives determined was not possible," the sheriff's office said in a news release. "The child eventually gave a true account of what happened." Investigators say evidence supports that the shooting was unintentional.

Gun safety advocates say firearm risks must be studied and treated like other public health threats
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The boy's family, who he will remain with, has been cooperative, the department said. The case will be addressed through the family court system.

In an initial news release about the incident, the department said when they arrived on the scene, there appeared to be no forced entry into the home, but a man was seen fleeing the home shortly before the 911 call was made. 

CBS News has reached out to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and is awaiting response. 

Cook's husband, Djuan Cook, said she was known as "Yo" or "YoYo." He posted on Facebook that funeral arrangements would be held on August 12. "Orange was Yo's favorite color so feel to wear it as we celebrate her life," he wrote.

CBS News has reached out Djuan Cook and is awaiting response.

In 2022 so far, there have been least 169 unintentional shootings by children, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun reform and against gun violence. Shootings by children caused 74 deaths and 104 injuries in the U.S. this year.

Last year, there were 392 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S., which resulted in 163 deaths and 248 injuries. 

About 3 million children and teens are exposed to gun violence a year, and 18,000 are shot and killed or wounded, according to Everytown.

Research by Nationwide Children's Hospital found that while parents think hiding guns will prevent kids from accessing them, 75% children who live in a home with a gun know where it is stored. 

Children as young as three may be able to discharge a gun, and studies find that even if a child has been taught not to touch a gun, they still will, Nationwide Children's says. 

Children may not be able to tell the difference between a toy gun and a real gun – and even non-powered firearms like BB guns, which some people consider toys, can cause serious injuries. 

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