LEBANON, Ind. – A 4-year-old girl from Lebanon is in the hospital after being shot in the head by her 2-year-old younger brother.
Police say the shooting appears to have been an accident.
Officers were dispatched to the shooting in the 300 Block of North Park Street around 10 a.m.
After being shot, the young victim was taken to Riley Hospital in critical condition.
At the time of the shooting police say the kids were being cared for by their grandparents, which neighbors say took place every day.
“The grandmother always kept the kids. She babysat them during the day. I always saw them out playing and having a good time,” said neighbor Paula Harvey.
“These people are really nice people. The kids are good kids. It’s just tragic to see it happen,” said neighbor Ron Harvey.
Right now it’s not clear how the little boy got his hands on the weapon, but police say these types of accidents can easily be avoided.
“I can’t stress how important it is if you own a firearm to make sure it is safe at all times. A child doesn’t know everything about firearms and it doesn’t take much to have an accident like this,” said Lebanon police officer Justin Fuston.
Studies by the gun violence archive shows in recent years Indiana has seen a lot of accidental shootings involving children, ranking 7th worst nationally in 2016.
Just last month, a 2-year-old boy in Grant County survived being shot in the shoulder by his 3-year-old brother inside the family home near Marion.
Last year FOX59 set up hidden cameras to see what kids would do if they came across a real gun. Several kids not only picked up the unloaded weapon, but also pointed it at other kids.
Neighbors in Lebanon hope the latest shooting is a learning experience for everyone.
“People need to be more aware about how they’re storing guns. If you’re going to have guns and children, lock the guns up,” said Ron Harvey.