toddler shot her sister dead after being left unsupervised with a loaded pistol by five adults in the same Texas apartment, police said.
Their parents heard a single shot before running to the bedroom to find their daughter dying from her injuries in their apartment in Houston at 8pm on Sunday.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the “preventable gun death” occurred as five adults were “hanging out” at the home where the young sisters lived with their parents.
Gonzalez said the children had been unintentionally left unsupervised.
“At some point it appears that one parent thought the other parent was maybe watching the other children, when in fact the two toddlers were left basically unsupervised inside the bedroom,” he told reporters outside the apartment.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will resolve whether any of the adults will face charges based on the police investigation, which is still in the preliminary phase, Gonzalez said.
“Our hearts are broken. Our deputies are pretty shaken up,” Gonzalez said, noting that support personnel would be at the scene to assist the officers and family members.
“The community is impacted when a child loses their life in this way,” Gonzalez said, adding that the shooting was another avoidable gun death.
“We continue to send the message that this is very preventable,” Gonzalez said.
“You’ve got to be sure you’re being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe area. It’s got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons. You know, we’ve got to carryout a dinky more. We see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”
Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the US. Every year, 18,000 of them are shot and killed or wounded, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for gun control.