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Heartbroken father speaks out after police say 4-year-old shoots herself in Tempe

Karyn Gonzalez was supposed to graduate preschool Friday, but now her family is planning her funeral.
Credit: KPNX

TEMPE, Ariz. — Robert Gonzalez was at work when he got the call.  He had no idea that a crime scene, which unfolded hours before, would alter his life forever.

"I didn’t find out until 12 hours later that my daughter was dead," he said.

That initial sorrow turned quickly to anger when he learned that his daughter, Karyn, shot herself with a gun that was left out in the home she was in, unlocked.

"My baby is gone, due to stupidity and ignorance," he said.

Tempe police say the child shot herself over the weekend after finding a gun that was placed underneath a piece of furniture by an adult sibling who thought it was hidden well enough.

RELATED: 4-year-old dies after shooting incident in Tempe, police say

Robert Gonzalez said that he and Karyn’s mother are separated and he wasn't there that night. He wishes he was.

"I never got a chance to go home and see my baby one last time," he said through tears.

More than 300 kids unintentionally shoot guns every year, many resulting in deaths according to news reports documented by advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

"What you need a gun for?" Robert Gonzalez said, frustrated. "To show off? A paperweight? Leave it around for a kid to shoot themselves? It’s wrong.  It’s flat-out wrong. I want justice for Karyn. She needed more than this. How her story ended."

Tempe Police are still investigating to determine whether they'll submit any charges in this tragedy, while Karyn's family works to plan her funeral.

She was supposed to graduate pre-school at the end of the week.  Her father dwells on the other milestones he'll have to miss.

"I’ll never be able to make her quinceañera or walk her down an aisle when she gets married," he said.  "And it just kills me."

If you want to help Karyn's family, they've set up a GoFundMe to help pay for her funeral.

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