Police said Carmen Dominguez, 54, was sorting donated clothing at a Unique Thrift Store in the 9300 block of South Ashland Avenue in the city's Washington Heights neighborhood on Friday morning. A male coworker she was working with discovered a .22 caliber handgun hidden inside a sock. When he shook the item out of the sock, police say the gun accidentally discharged in his hand.
Dominguez was struck by a bullet in the chest and taken to Christ Hospital in serious condition. She was later pronounced dead.
Sister station WLS-TV in Chicago was told Dominguez had worked at the thrift store for over 25 years. She had received awards from the store as a longtime valued employee. Dominguez is survived by a husband and two children.
"I don't know what to tell her. How do you tell your daughter that she doesn't have a mother anymore?" said Victor Campos, victim's husband.
Unique Thrift issued a statement on Friday that said, in part: "We a [sic] extremely saddened about the tragic accident in our Ashland store that silted [sic] in the passing of one of our valued team members. Our thoughts and hearts are with her family and friends during this very sad and difficult time."
Area South police are investigating the death. They said preliminary indications are that this is a tragic, accidental incident. U.S. Labor Department agents are also investigating.