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GASTONIA, N.C. (WJZY) – A North Carolina family is in mourning after they say a 2-year-old boy picked up a gun and accidentally shot and killed his father over the weekend.

Phyllis Holland said her 2-year-old great-grandson shot and killed his father, 29-year-old Markovia Durham, inside a Gastonia apartment Sunday.

“The daddy was sitting on the couch, and the baby got up on the couch and picked the gun up from behind the daddy,” Holland said. “Picked the gun up not knowing it was a real gun, and put it to the daddy’s back and pulled the trigger thinking the gun was a toy.”

She said Durham had recently purchased the firearm.

“He keeps the gun away,” Holland explained. “He kept the gun away from him. At that moment, he just wasn’t thinking.”

The noise was so frightening, the toddler ran out the door, relatives said. Neighbors said police officers swarmed the apartment complex around 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

“I just hate it for that child because his life is messed up because, you know, it was his daddy,” said neighbor Tasha Phillips. “And if he did that, that little boy is going to go through something for the rest of his life and it just hurts me because I have grandkids of my own.”

On Monday, there were still pieces of crime scene tape on the ground outside the door.

Holland said the family isn’t placing blame on anyone. Right now, they’re trying to explain to the 2-year-old, who keeps asking for his dad.

“He want his Dada,” Holland said. “He’s only a 2-year-old. He doesn’t understand.”

The Gastonia Police Department hasn’t said if anyone will face charges in the fatal shooting. Department of Social Services employees were at the scene on Monday questioning family members.

Meanwhile, those who live around the area were repeating the same message Monday night: Keep your kids away from loaded guns.