Mar. 8, 2014— -- A Chicago thrift store worker died after a handgun hidden in a donated item of clothing went off and the bullet hit the woman in the chest, police said.
Carmen Dominguez, 54, was sorting through clothing with a fellow colleague at a Unique Thrift Store in Chicago, when she was fatally shot in the chest at 9:42 a.m. on Friday, a Chicago Police Department spokesman said.
The unidentified male coworker found a sock with something heavy inside, and emptied the contents into his hand, police said. The object turned out to be a .22 caliber handgun that went off and hit Dominguez in the chest.
Dominguez was taken to Christ Hospital in serious condition and later died from her injuries, police said.
"Preliminary investigation reveals it was an accidental discharge of a firearm," the Chicago Police Department's Michael Sullivan told ABC News.
Dominguez was a longtime employee of the thrift store, having worked there for more than 25 years and had received numerous awards from the store, ABC News Chicago station WLS-TV reports.
Dominguez is survived by a husband, Victor Campos, and two children aged 17 and 30.
"I don't know what to tell her. How do you tell your daughter that she doesn't have a mother anymore?" Campos said.
Unique Thrift store did not immediately return calls from ABC News, but released a statement on Friday saying:
"We are extremely saddened about the tragic accident in our Ashland store that resulted 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."
The store closed temporarily on Friday, but was open again for business today.
"Conditions are hazardous, sometimes they throw stuff without any intention to each other and they get hurt," Campos said of the workers at the store.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into the incident as police continue their investigation.