A 4-year-old boy was shot by his 4-year-old cousin with a relative’s rifle in a tragic accidental death, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The 4-year-old girl was playing in the back bedroom with the 4-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister when she discovered the loaded rifle underneath the bed, Sgt. Michael Woody, a Detroit police spokesman. The girl pointed the gun at her cousin and pulled the trigger, shooting him in the chest, Woody continued.
Police were called to the scene around 4:50pm on Thursday. The child was later taken to Henry Ford Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.
One adult, the grandfather, was home at the time of the shooting, the police said.It is unknown whether the gun belonged to the grandfather.
Statements have not been released by the family and the 4-year-old girl’s whereabouts have not been reported. The boy’s name was immediately released.
Police said there is one man in custody on charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon, and a woman is in custody on an outstanding warrant.
Police Capt. Rodney Cox says it is too early to tell whether any charges will be brought as a result of the shooting. That decision will be left up to the Wayne County’s prosecutor’s office.
“…There was no malicious intent. There was nothing there to suggest that the grandfather put those children in harm’s way, but the investigation will continue,” Cox told the Associated Press.
He believes there is a larger lesson to learn from the shooting he called a “tragic accident.”
“This is an example of how we must maintain gun safety,” he said.
He notes that guns should be kept unloaded and in a secure location- especially when children are around. In this case, the rifle was unlocked and loaded, allowing the child easy access.
“This is a very senseless … incident that could have been avoided,” he said.
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