4-year-old in Monroe County dies in apparent accidental shooting

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Photo from the scene

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UPDATE (Jan. 24, 2020)-- The Monroe County Sheriff's office says the 4-year-old boy injured in this shooting passed away on Jan. 23. The child was identified as Tripp Shaw.

Original story: 

MONROE COUNTY, Ind. -- A 4-year-old boy is in critical condition after he and his father sustained gunshot wounds Sunday.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to the 1200 block of East Zinnia Drive in Bloomington on January 19 in reference to a gunshot wound.

A preliminary investigation by detectives found that a 36-year-old man with a concealed handgun on the small of his back was play-wrestling on a bed with his 4-year-old son.

Police said, while the two were playing, the gun fell from the father’s person and a shot was fired, striking both the father and the four-year-old in the head.

"It's horrifying.  It's heart wrenching.  I can't even imagine what they're going through," said neighbor Kaili Frye.

Kaili lives right next door and considers her neighbors friends.  Like everyone else on the street, she was stunned to learn what happened.

"I mean i can't even imagine the situation they're in, but I can guarantee it was an accident and it's unfortunate," said Frye.

The father and son were taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital.

The father was life-lined to IU Health Methodist in Indianapolis and is expected to recover at this time, according to police.

The four-year-old was life-lined to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis and remains in critical care.

The Gun Violence Archive, a research group that tracks unintentional shootings across the country, found that Indiana has seen a lot of accidental shootings involving children.

While no one with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office would comment on camera about this case, over the years police and gun rights advocates have repeatedly spoken about the importance of gun safety,.   They say accidental shootings can almost always be avoided.

"I mean accidental shootings involving a child is the worst thing imaginable and it's more tragic because it's 100 percent preventable," said gun right's advocate Guy Relford in an interview from March 2019.

As for specifics on exactly how the gun discharged, sheriff's detectives say that remains under investigation.

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