EATON CROSSROADS (WATE) - Authorities say a mother in the Eaton Crossroads Community was accidentally shot in the head Tuesday night.
The Loudon County Sheriff's Office said the parents left a loaded .22 under a bunk bed between the slats and the mattress. Their 11-year-old son got the gun and accidentally shot his mother, Stacy Wicks Duggan, in the back of the head.
The shooting was reported at 11:26 p.m.
Investigators said the boy thought the gun was a toy.
Stacy Duggan was taken to UT Medical Center, where she's in serious condition.
Dan and Stacy Duggan have been married 16 years and they have four children.
Dan Duggan says he and his wife and their son were in the same room when the shot was fired. "I didn't see the gun," he said. "I just saw the flash and I knew what it was. He said, 'Oh God, I thought it was a fake gun,'" Duggan said.
Dan Duggan said the gun was there for protection, a decision he wishes he could change. "I can't change nothing," he said. "I keep wanting to go back and change stuff, but it's a miracle she's alive, you know. He shot her point blank accidentally."
After she was shot, Duggan said his wife spoke to their son. "She told him it's not your fault. Then at the hospital, we were more worried about him."
Duggan says the kids are staying with friends. Sheriff's investigators say the state Department of Children's Services is investigating the incident.
"With the child having access to the pistol, they are faced with future charges," said Jason Smith, with the sheriff's office. "It would be like a child abuse or neglect charge."
Detectives say they hope this serves as a reminder to keep guns out of children's reach and locked in a safe if they're loaded.
The parents have faced a child endangerment and a child abuse charge in the past. Stacy and Dan Duggan both have arrest records that are five pages long.
A DCS spokesperson said the department has investigated the Duggans in the past, but that case was closed.