Toddler Shot to Death by Brother, 3

Loaded, unlocked gun found in friend's apartment
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2014 10:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two young brothers were playing in the Arizona apartment of their mother's elderly friend yesterday when they found a gun—and the 3-year-old accidentally shot his 18-month-old brother in the head, killing him. Their mother says she went to find her sons no more than 15 minutes into the visit, per police; the gun went off just as she entered the room they were in, KTVK reports. The semi-automatic gun was not locked up, Payson police say, and there were other weapons in the home.

"The apartment that this occurred in was a family friend of the mother and two children," who "had slipped into another room unobserved by the mother and the 78-year-old occupant of the apartment," the police chief says, according to KPHO. A police press release noted they all live in the same apartment complex, and that the shooting occurred in a back bedroom. Police have served a search warrant, and are not ruling out charges against the mother or the friend. (A similar tragedy happened in Kansas about a month ago.)

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