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4-year-old, who police say accidentally shot himself, remembered as 'affectionate and sweet'

Miyell Hernandez's aunt says his mother went into Publix to get a birthday cake when the four year old got ahold of a gun inside the car he was in and shot himself.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Jose Hernandez never went one day without telling his son, Miyell Hernandez, that he loved him. On Sunday, he wasn't able to and he had no choice. 

Jose's sister, Guadalupe Woods, said the two were very close.

“He was sleeping [that day] and he didn’t get to say he loved his son before his son left the house," Woods said.

Woods said Miyell's mother drove to Publix off Panola Road with 4-year-old Miyell, his 8-month-old sister, and 13-year-old cousin.

Woods said the mother got out of the car Sunday afternoon to get Miyell’s grandfather a birthday cake.

Police say that’s when Miyell accidentally shot himself with a gun that was inside the car.

“This moment will forever be remembered as my dad’s birthday with the death of our only boy that we have besides my brother in our family," she added.

The 13-year-old then ran inside for help. 

“I’m pretty sure my niece is going to be pretty messed up for the rest of her life because she was unfortunately in there when it happened. But we’ll figure something out. We’ll just keep going," she said while wiping tears off her face.

Jose's other sister, Maria Hernandez, later told 11Alive "nobody knew there was a gun in the vehicle."

"My daughter was the one in the car and she said they were just going to the store. She was in the passenger seat, kids were in the back, they stayed inside the vehicle," Maria explained.

She stated her daughter merely turned around to turn music on in the car when she heard a loud loud and saw smoke fill the car.

"When she turned, she saw my nephew...she went for help and that’s it. Two bystanders called 911 and by then he was already gone,” Maria added

Police said that Miyell was taken to a local hospital where he later died. Police added no charges have been filed.

RELATED: 4-year-old identified, dead after accidently shooting himself

“Miyell was the sweetest kid ever," she recalled. "All he ever wanted to do is be held, told he was loved, kissed. He wanted you to hold his hand constantly, he loved his baby sister, he was excited when that came around.” 

Woods is in the U.S. Army in Washington D.C. but will be flying back to Atlanta on Friday to be with her family.

She says she is not sure who the gun belongs to or how this even happened. Miyell was her only nephew. 

"He will always be in our memory," she said. "He will never be forgotten. We just do what we need to do on our side to keep that memory."

Credit: Provided.

Now, she has a message for parents.

“People just gotta watch their kids better," she said. "Just can’t be reckless with your kids. Always make sure you tell your kids that you love them because you never know what could happen."

No one else was injured during the incident, DeKalb County Police said, and added that it is still an open investigation.

The family has set up a fundraiser. To donate, click here.

This is the second shooting in five days, killing a child in the Metro Atlanta area. On Feb. 23, police say 9-year-old Kemoni Mack, was shot and killed at an apartment along the 1700 block of Richmond Circle.  

RELATED: Teen arrested for murder in shooting death of 9-year-old boy, police say

DeKalb County is hosting an event on March 19 that will focus on keeping kids safe. They will give out gun locks for free. DeKalb Police Chief Mirtha Ramos said they work on any type of gun --  from revolvers and handguns to rifles.

"Something as simple as this can save a life," Ramos said. "We don’t need your identification, we don’t need to know what kind of gun you own, we’re not asking for any paperwork."

The event will take place in south DeKalb County, but the exact location will be announced at a later date. Ramos said the event will be open to everyone regardless of where you live.

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