A child was killed after a gun they were playing with went off while their caretaker was in another room at the time.
The incident occurred in Detroit, Michigan on Monday night while an uncle was watching two siblings. The two young boys, ages 6 and 5, found a gun that had not been properly secured and began to play with it. While they were doing this, the gun accidentally went off and the 5-year-old was struck in the eye with a bullet. At the time, the uncle had reportedly been in the home’s basement playing video games, WXYZ News reported.
“The 6-year-old told his uncle, ‘My brother is dying. We need help,’” Detroit Police Deputy Chief Deshaune Sims said.
The boy was transported to a nearby children’s hospital for treatment but ultimately died from his injuries. The older brother is not believed to have sustained any injuries and it is also suspected that he was not in the same room as his sibling when the gun went off, according to Local 4 News.
Police officials said that the boys’ uncle was taken into custody following the incident, but has not been cooperative with law enforcement since then. In the immediate aftermath of the accidental shooting, police said that their focus was on finding the weapon involved in the accident.
“Right now we are trying to locate a weapon,” Detroit Police said in a statement, according to WXYZ. “We have not been able to recover a weapon at this time.”
Gun violence, particularly incidents involving children, remains a pervasive problem in Detroit, with the city reporting 67 incidents involving kids being shot last year. While WXYZ did not have specific figures in its report, it did note that the number shot this year has already reached double digits.
“Unfortunately we are here again,” Sims said. “We have been at many of these things and the message is if you have a weapon, put it up, lock it. Keep it away from children. Unfortunately, parents and caretakers are not taking heed to that message…hopefully, one person will take heed and keep weapons out of areas where children can access them easily.”
A law that would criminalize improper storage of firearms by caretakers has been proposed, but it has not yet passed through the Michigan state legislature.
Newsweek reached out to the Detroit Police for comment.
A similar tragic incident played out in West Baltimore, Maryland earlier in the month, when a 9-year-old boy accidentally shot a 15-year-old girl while playing with a loaded gun. The bullet struck the girl in the face, causing the young boy to flee the scene.
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