An 8-year-old boy was shot and killed by his 5-year-old brother Thursday at an Arkansas home in what the local sheriff called a “tragic accident.”
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to a residence following a 911 call of a reported shooting involving a young child. Inside the home, deputies found an unresponsive 8-year-old boy, who was declared dead at the scene by the coroner.
Investigators did not release any details about led up to the shooting but believe it was accidental. Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said the shooting “could have been avoided” and suggested the gun was not properly secured by the owner.
“I can’t emphasize strongly enough that guns need to be well secured and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times,” Woods said in a news release. “Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home.”
The body of the 8-year-old will be sent to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy as the investigation continues, the sheriff’s office said.
According to data analyzed by advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, so far this year there have been at least 126 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S., resulting in 55 deaths and 78 injuries.
Just last month, an 8-year-old boy accidentallyand injured a 2-year-old girl at a Florida motel.