A 3-year-old girl picked up a loaded firearm and accidentally shot her 4-year-old sister to death inside a Houston, Texas, home on Sunday night, according to police.
According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, there were five adults inside the home when the firearm was discharged.
“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,” Gonzalez said during a press conference.
The sheriff’s office noted that the firearm only went off once and appeared “unintentional.” The office noted that the toddler was shot in the face.
“The 3-year-old gained access to a loaded semi-automatic pistol. Family members heard a single gunshot and ran into the room and found the small toddler, 4 years old, on the floor, unresponsive,” Gonzalez said.
The girl was pronounced dead at the scene, and the adults inside the home were detained by the police, authorities shared.
“It just seems like another tragic story of, again, a child gaining access to a firearm and hurting someone else, and this time there was a fatal shot,” Gonzalez said.
An investigation remains ongoing concerning the owner of the weapon and whether or not it was properly stored. Gonzalez noted in his press conference that this would have been “preventable” if the weapon was secured.
“You’ve got to be sure you’re being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place,” Gonzalez said. “It’s got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons. You know, we’ve got to do a little more. We see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”