INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police are investigating a north side shooting that sent a 4-year-old and her mother to the hospital Sunday morning.
Officers were called to their home in the 1600 block of E 44th St. just before 8:30 a.m.
When officers arrived, the child’s father told them that the 4-year-old had shot herself in the cheek with his gun and he believes the same bullet struck the mother in the back of the head.
“It was on a nightstand,” said IMPD Patrolman Aaron Hamer, “and we believe that after they grabbed the gun, they pulled the trigger, shot themself. At that point the bullet went into the mom’s head, back of the mom’s head.”
EMS arrived and transported the child to Riley Hospital for Children in stable in condition. The mother was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital, where she underwent surgery. Police say she was conscious and alert when she left the scene. She is expected to be okay.
The father told officers his 2-year-old son was also in the room, but he was not hurt. CBS4 is told there were a total of six children in the home at the time of the shooting.
The father could potentially face a charge of reckless endangerment for leaving a gun accessible where any one of a half-dozen children could find it.
“We want to make sure we stress the importance of gun safety,” said Hamer. “It’s critical. We obviously want to make sure that people, if they have guns in the house, they lock their guns up. Make sure they’re not exposed where children can grab them and reach them.”
IMPD offered the following gun safety tips to ensure the safest environment for kids:
- Take the ammunition out of the gun.
- Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
- Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
- Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
According to a USA Today/AP survey, Indiana ranks seventh in the nation for accidental shootings involving children since the start of 2014.
In two-and-a-half years ending this past summer, there were 45 such shootings in Indiana, eleven in Indianapolis, with 29 children wounded and eleven killed. Five adults were accidentally wounded or killed by children with guns.
Since January 1, 2014, there have been more than 1,000 accidental shootings involving children in the United States and 133 children killed.
63 of the children shot or killed so far this year were four years old.