A 3-year-old girl in Texas shot and killed her 4-year-old sister with an “unsecured” weapon on Sunday, March 12.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the two toddlers were playing unsupervised while five adults gathered with family and friends in a Houston apartment.
“At some point, it appears that one parent thought the other parent was watching the other children when in fact the two toddlers were left basically unsupervised inside the bedroom,” the sheriff said.
In the bedroom, the children found a loaded semi-automatic pistol.
“Family members heard a single gunshot. They ran into the room and found the small toddler, four years old, on the floor unresponsive,” Sheriff Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the adults were able to quickly secure the weapon after the gunshot and call 911, but the injured child was still pronounced dead at the scene.
Neither child has been identified yet.
Any charges against the adults in the house have not yet been announced, although Sheriff Gonzalez said charges were “very likely” in this case.
“Our hearts are broken. Our deputies are pretty shaken up,” Gonzalez said. “The community is impacted when a child loses their life in this way.”
Gonzales emphasized that this kind of incident is preventable if parents follow proper gun safety practices.
“You’ve got to be sure you’re being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place,” the sheriff said. “It’s got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons. You know, we’ve got to do a little more. We see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”