A 3-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her 4-year-old sister after getting hold of a loaded gun inside the family’s Texas home Sunday, police said.
The two girls were in a bedroom inside an apartment at 9955 Bammel North Houston Road in Houston at around 8 p.m. when a gunshot rang out, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
Five adults, including the sisters’ mother and stepfather, were in other parts of the residence at the time, reported the station KTRK.
Gonzalez said the kids were left unsupervised in the bedroom because the grownups believed at least one of them was watching the girls.
“The 3-year-old gained access to a loaded, semi-automatic pistol. Family members heard a single gunshot. They ran into the room and found the small toddler, 4 years old, unresponsive,” Gonzalez said.
The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene after cops responded to the apartment.
Her name has not been released as of Monday.
“It just seems like another tragic story of, again, a child gaining access to a firearm and hurting someone else and this time there was a fatal shot,” the sheriff told reporters outside the apartment building.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will determine whether any of the adults will face charges based on the outcome of the police investigation.
It was not immediately known who owns the gun used in the shooting and whether the weapon was legally registered.
“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.”
The sheriff stressed that the little girl’s death was “very preventable.”
“You’ve got to be sure you’re being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place,” Gonzalez 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.”