A 5-year old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister in rural southern Kentucky with a rifle he had received a present last year, the local coroner said.
Police said the boy shot his sister with a .22-caliber rifle on Tuesday afternoon just moments after his mother stepped out onto the porch.
Their mother claims she had been gone for “no more than three minutes” when the incident transpired, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told WKYT-TV.
The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
White told local newspaper the Lexington Herald-Leader, that the boy had received the rifle as a gift. It was usually kept in a corner of the house, and no one realized a shell had been left inside.
“It’s a Crickett,” White said in reference to the rifle. “It’s a little rifle for a kid….The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun.”
“Just one of those crazy accidents,” he continued.
State police said the shooting occurred when the boy was “playing” with the rifle, but provided no further information.
It remains unclear if any charges will be filed, Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Billy Gregory said.
Keystone Sporting Arms, manufacturers the Crickett and an assortment of other products geared towards children.
The company’s slogan is “my first rifle” and its website boasts a “Kids Corner” section, which depicts young boys and girls at shooting ranges and on bird and deer hunts.
The rifle is marketed by the company as a tool “to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters.”
Last month, 6-year-old Brandon Holt was shot in the head and killed by his four-year-old neighbor, who was playing with a .22 in the streets outside their homes in Toms River, New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Alaska State Troopers say an 8-year-old boy shot and killed his 5-year-old sister in the western town of Mountain View on Monday. A police spokeswoman said the boy was home alone when his sister arrived.
She declined to comment on whether the shooting was intentional or accidental, only saying the child was playing with a rifle he had previously used to go hunting.
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