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Mother of five shot and killed after children find gun in her purse, police say

Gabriel Alexis Henderson's youngest child was wounded in the shooting and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A North Carolina mother of five was accidentally killed and her youngest child injured when her children found a gun in her purse.

Police were called to an apartment in Cornelius on Monday night and found the mother, Gabriel Alexis Henderson, in a back bedroom, according to a police press release. The 25-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

The only other people in the apartment at the time of the shooting were Henderson's five children. The oldest was in the living room and the other four were in the bedroom when they found a small semiautomatic handgun in their mother's purse, police said.

"The mother was inadvertently shot, as well as the youngest child," authorities said in the release. "The youngest child was transported by Medic to Atrium Main in Charlotte with non-life-threatening injuries."

Cornelius police Capt. Jennifer Thompson stressed the importance of gun safety and said residents can reach out to the police department for a gun lock.

“We know that children are going to look at a gun and not be able to tell if it’s real or safe,” she told local station Fox 46. “That’s why we talk about how important it is to be a good gun owner.”

“Patrol officers can come by and show you how to use the gun lock and be a good, safe gun owner,” she added.

The children are staying with family members, Thompson said. She believes they "will definitely need some help in the future" because of the tragedy they witnessed.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses and financial needs for Henderson's children.