5 year old Arkansas boy accidentally shoots and kills 8 year old brother, with the children’s mother present. Police discover multiple weapons at the family home.
And yet again … An 8 year old boy has died after being ‘accidentally’ shot by his 5 year old brother at the family home, Arkansas police said.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the accidental shooting occurred Thursday afternoon, July 14, around 2.30 pm in the 2700 block of Shannon Valley Road, Pine Bluff. The officials reached the scene after receiving a 911 call.
Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods, investigating the incident, said that the shooting could have been avoided.
Told Woods in a release, ‘This is a tragic incident that could have been avoided. I can’t emphasize strongly enough that guns need to be well secured and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times. Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home.’
When the officials reached the location of the incident, they discovered the eight-year-old being unresponsive inside the house. The county coroner was called to the home and the child declared dead. The body of the boy was then taken to Arkansas State Crime Lab where an autopsy will be performed according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Was negligence involved?
Commenting on the case, Sheriff Woods said, ‘It appears that based on arrival at least the mother was actually present. It was reported that she may have been sleeping at the time, heard the gunshot, went in, and actually found the 8-year-old on the floor.’
Police said several weapons were discovered and were taken from the home. Investigators and prosecutors are now trying to determine whether negligence was involved in leaving the weapons within the boys’ reach, leading to a determination as to whether charges would be filed.
Told Sheriff Woods, ‘There are some questions unanswered, like how secure the weapons truly were. The mother said the weapons were secure, but we’re vetting that information now.’
Adding, ‘Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home.’
According to everytownresearch, the state is tied for the second-worst gun laws in the country and has the eighth-highest rate of gun deaths in the nation. Arkansas has very few controls on gun ownership. There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm (including handguns), and the state does not require a permit to buy handguns.
There have been at least 126 unintentional shootings by children in the US this year– taking the lives of 55 people and wounding 78 others, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety. Last year saw at least 392 unintentional shootings by children, which resulted in 163 people killed and 248 injured.
At present, the Arkansas Department of Human Services has taken the five-year-old from the home, including four other siblings. They will be placed in the custody of their aunt pending a protocol check.