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Girl, 4, fatally shoots boy, 4, at Detroit home

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:54 a.m. HST, Jan 17, 2014

DETROIT » A 4-year-old girl accidentally shot her 4-year-old cousin to death with a loaded rifle that she found under a bed at their grandfather's Detroit home, police said today.

The girl was playing and watching TV on Thursday afternoon with the 4-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister when she found the gun, police Sgt. Michael Woody said. He said she picked up the weapon, pointed it at the boy and shot him once in the chest.

The boy was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Woody said. A family friend was the only adult at the home on the city's west side at the time, Woody said, and it wasn't immediately known who owns the gun.

An investigation is ongoing and the Wayne County prosecutor's office will determine whether charges should be brought, he said.

"It's a tragic incident," Woody told The Associated Press. "It's really not anything more than that. There was no malicious intent. There was nothing there to suggest that the grandfather put those children in harm's way, but the investigation will continue."

The boy's name wasn't immediately released.

The gun was a small-caliber rifle, Woody said, but details about the exact type, size and weight weren't immediately available. A 4-year-old might not be able to maintain control of such a rifle when it was fired, but that isn't an issue in this case because only one shot was fired, he said.

"Would they be able to pick it up with two hands, point it and pull the trigger? Definitely," he said.

Woody said the shooting reinforces the need for those with guns to keep them secure — especially when there are children around.

"This is a very senseless ... incident that could have been avoided," he said.

On Thursday night, investigators went in and out of the brick house. Police cars blocked traffic. Neighbors told the Detroit Free Press that they didn't hear a gunshot.

"I was just devastated," said 77-year-old neighbor Dorothy Jameson. "I was wondering why two 4-year-olds have access to a gun in the first place."

Dennis Queensbury, who told The Detroit News that he has a concealed pistol license, said gun owners need to secure their firearms.

"I have three children: 16, 9 years old and 20," Queensbury said, after watching officers at the scene. "But I have a gun lock. You have to have a lock and safes, and be careful."

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copperwire9 wrote:
Will we never learn?...
on January 17,2014 | 08:56AM
aomohoa wrote:
I'm sure people want a gun in the house to defend themselves against intruders. Unfortunately this is the more common outcome.
on January 17,2014 | 09:04AM
busterb wrote:
Maybe the cousin was intruding.
on January 17,2014 | 02:56PM
eoe wrote:
Who cares, as long as we have the second amendment. We are willing to pay any price, no matter how great, so throw another body on the pile.
on January 17,2014 | 09:21AM
kispest wrote:
In Detroit? What a surprise...
on January 17,2014 | 10:14AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
So many things wrong here. Simply tragic. How does anyone leave a rifle with bullets in it in the same room with children? Someone should be in held accountable for this, including the parents.
on January 17,2014 | 10:25AM
sohappy2beme wrote:
The parents? Why the parents? It was the grandfather's gun in the grandfather's home and how are the parents supposed to know there is a gun under the bed? Do you do a full inspection of every house your children are left in? Do you interrogate every homeowner prior to letting your children have access to the home?
on January 17,2014 | 01:29PM
Sophia1Israel wrote:
sad unfortunate things like this happen because USA allows it! the rest of the world where there are strong laws against gun ownership do not have such sad incidences like this. the NRA is too powerful, influencing Congress to the point where a sad 4 y/o is dead because there is a gun available in the house! condolences to all effected.
on January 17,2014 | 09:19PM
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