He was just 18 months old, the victim. Shot to death when his older brother found a handgun and began experimenting with it. The brother — 3 years old.
The Associated Press reported (via People magazine) May 29 that a child in Payson, Ariz., after discovering an unsecured handgun in a neighbor’s apartment, took the gun into another room and fired it. The shot hit his younger brother in the head, killing him.
The mother of the two boys took her eyes off of them for just a moment. She was entering the bedroom where the children were playing when the firearm discharged. She nor the neighbor she was visiting knew the children had the weapon.
The younger child was quickly taken to the hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead.
Payson Police Chief Don Engler said the investigation into the shooting would take about a week. Findings would be forwarded to the Gila County Attorney’s Office where a decision would be made whether or not to prosecute. He said it was too early to tell what his department might recommend to the prosecutors.
The shooting is just the latest in a never-ending series of deaths of children by firearms throughout the U. S.
At the end of April, a 4-year-old Kansas boy found a handgun in the nightstand in his Wichita home, according to the New York Daily News. He was playing in the room with his 3-year-old sister and 19-month-old brother when the gun went off. The bullet, fired from the gun that was never taken out of the nightstand (the bullet went through the intervening wood), struck his little brother in the chest. The toddler was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital an hour later.
In May 2013, a 5-year-old Kentucky boy shot and killed his 3-year-old sister with a rifle he had been given for his birthday. CNN reported that the mother had stepped outside the home for just a few seconds. The boy was playing with the gun when it accidentally discharged, authorities said.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics noted that some 7,000 children whose ages range from babies to 14 are rushed to emergency rooms around the U. S. every year. Another 3,000 die before ever reaching the hospital, the study states.