GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) -Upstate leaders are encouraging gun owners to lock up their weapons after a 14-year-old shot and killed himself over the weekend.

“These types of situations occur every so often, but they’re so much preventable,” said Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler.

Police said 14-year-old Zakius Davis and a friend were inside an apartment at the Colonial Heights complex in Gaffney, when they found a handgun. Fowler said Davis started to play with the gun, held it to his chest, and accidentally fired it.

“In this situation, it was a 14-year-old who was playing with a gun that the owner of the apartment thought she had secured it. Just because it’s up high, or just because, ‘Well, I’ve moved it from one location to another,’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe,” said Fowler.

The coroner said Davis collapsed and died at the scene. Now, Fowler and Gaffney Police are encouraging gun owners to secure their weapons, by using gun locks or safes. Gun locks are available for free at the police department.

“Most children even at 9, 10, even though you hide your weapons, they still know where those weapons are so it’s a good eye idea to get a gun box, a lock box for the guns,” said Assistant Police Chief Jerry Smith.

Smith said kids of all ages are capable of finding and accidentally using weapons.

“Children as young as three are strong enough to pull the trigger on weapons,” said Smith.

He said securing a gun with a gun lock and storing weapons in a safe can help prevent accidental shootings. Fowler said taking several precautions to store your weapons can help save lives.

“I think you should always have multiple layers of protection on a weapon because you don’t know what that child is thinking,” said Fowler.

He also wants parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of guns.

“It was a toy. It became a toy to them and a gun should never be a toy,” said Fowler. “This should send a very loud, resounding message of what’s happened to one teen, could also happen to someone else.”

He hopes gun owners take note, making sure their weapons are secure from kids and teens.

“That’s what I would encourage people to say: ‘Where are my weapons? Do I have it in a safe? Do I have a lock on it? Where is it? Is it easy and accessible? Is it loaded?’ Those things you’ve got to check,” said Fowler.

At this time, Gaffney Police have not filed charges against the gun owner. They said the incident is still under investigation.