Prosecutors will determine whether any adults will face charges after an unsupervised 3-year-old accidentally shot and killed her 4-year-old sister at their home in Houston, authorities said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called the Sunday shooting a “very preventable” situation.
“It seems like another tragic story of a child getting access to a firearm and hurting someone else,” Gonzalez said at a news conference.
Police say the investigation is in the preliminary phase.
“Everyone’s impacted, a community’s impacted when a child loses their life in this way,” Gonzalez said.
Here is what we know about the accidental shooting death:
How did the shooting happen?
The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. Sunday inside a Houston apartment where the two young children lived with their parents, KHOU-11 News Houston reported.
Five adults and the 3- and 4-year-old sisters were there around the time of the shooting, Gonzalez said.
“It appears that one parent thought the other parent was maybe watching the other children, when in fact, the two toddlers were left basically unsupervised inside the bedroom,” he said.
The 3-year-old girl gained access to a loaded semi-automatic pistol and shot her older sibling.
Family members heard a single gunshot and ran to the bedroom, where investigators say they found the 4-year-old unresponsive on the floor.
“(They) picked up the gun, secured it at that point and called 911,” Gonzalez said.
The 4-year-old died at the scene, according to police.
Will adults be charged in the shooting?
It’s “very likely” that the adults in the home could face charges related to the unintentional shooting, Gonzalez said.
“Our investigators will consult with the Harris County District Attorney’s office to see what charges are possible,” he said.
Police encourage responsible gun ownership
The tragic shooting happened shortly after the Houston Police Department launched its first gun safe distribution program set to continue through summer.
Gonzalez urged gun owners to go beyond simply telling children not to touch weapons.
“Make sure you’re securing your weapons, get a gun safe and store it somewhere,” the sheriff said. “We’ve got to do a little bit more, we see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”
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it is like a bad lottery. I wonder who the White guy is, that will be blamed for this negligence. Could be you, maybe me….
I’ve owned guns most of my life, not one is where a child can get to them.!!! Just plan stupid.!!!