A 1-year-old boy in Texas underwent surgery after his 4-year-old brother shot him unintentionally in the leg after finding an unsecured pistol in their home in Houston on Tuesday night, authorities said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter that the 1-year-old was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound after the incident but was expected to survive.
The children’s father told KPRC 2 News that he was not home at the time of the shooting, but the children’s mother was. He told the outlet that the 4-year-old likes to play with toy guns and was likely unaware that he had found a real one, which belonged to a relative staying at the home.
Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland told KPRC that the Crimes Against Children Unit is investigating the circumstances leading to the shooting.
A Harris County district attorney’s office spokesperson told HuffPost that law enforcement is still conducting their investigation, and any case would go to a grand jury to determine whether charges are appropriate to file.
Major Saul Suarez briefing media on the accidental shooting of a 1 year old boy by his 4 year old sibling. Occurred in the 17100 block of Sunshine Street. Investigators interviewing family. The 1 year old is expected to survive.#HouNewspic.twitter.com/XRktKCHjFt
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) May 16, 2023
Harris County Sheriff’s Major Saul Suarez urged gun owners to properly secure their firearms away from their children during a Tuesday press briefing.
“I want to take this time to remind the community to be responsible when it comes to weapons,” Suarez said. “Make sure that you’re securing them, especially when there’s children in the house.”
According to data from the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been at least 113 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S. so far this year, resulting in 47 deaths and 68 injuries. This incident comes only two months after a similar accidental shooting in Harris County, where a 3-year-old killed her 4-year-old sister after finding her parents’ gun.
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S., topping car accidents and cancer. A Pew Research Center analysis found that gun deaths increased by 50% among children and teens between 2019 and 2021.