A 3-year-old Idaho girl who shot and killed herself in Yellowstone National Park over the weekend has been identified as Ella Marie Tucker of Pocatello. Authorities said they still don't know how she got the gun.
Park officials said the shooting remained under investigation and they did not release the girl's parents' names or further details of what happened, the Associated Press reported.
Park officials say the girl's mother called for help on Saturday to report her daughter had shot herself with a handgun. Park rangers who responded to Grant Village Campground on the western shore of Yellowstone Lake were unable to resuscitate her.
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It was the first shooting death in Yellowstone since 1978. Two shooting deaths occurred in the park that year, records show.
Heart attacks are the most common cause of death in Yellowstone.
Carrying a gun in a national park has been legal under a federal law that took effect in 2010; however, firing a gun "except in rare circumstances" and hunting are both banned in Yellowstone, according to park literature, the Los Angeles Times notes
The shooting happened during a time of year when summer tourism in Yellowstone begins to slow.
Yellowstone, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and predates their statehood, receives about 3 million visitors every year.
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The nearly 3,500 square mile park was established by the congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Prior to European expansion, Native Americans had resided in the area where the park is now situated for thousands of years.
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