A 10-year-old accidentally shot his 14-year-old brother in the chest on Tuesday while playing a game of cops and robbers.
“Resuscitation efforts were started immediately but were not successful,” said a press release from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office. “The 14-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene by the Sauk County Coroner’s Office.”
The incident took place on Aug. 8 at the brothers’ rural home in the small village of Loganville, Wisconsin. The gun belonged to the boys’ father.
Initial police investigations revealed the father had left his gun in an accessible location, and although the magazine had been removed, a single bullet remained in the chamber.
The county sheriff’s office revealed that a 12-year-old was also at the scene along with others and that officials are still investigating.
Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister said he has responded to shootings in the past, including those involving children, and said it always hard on the family.
“I don’t know how the family is going to deal with it,” he said via the Reedsburg Times-Press.
Gun laws in Wisconsin are relatively relaxed. A buyer does not need a permit to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. A permit is only needed when carrying a handgun, according to the National Rifle Association of America’s Institute for Legislative Action.
Earlier this year in Milwaukee, a 4-year-old shot himself in the hand with his mother’s handgun. The mother, who had left the gun in her purse, was charged with child neglect, reported the Associated Press.
According to the website Every town for Gun Safety, in 2016 at least 267 children accidentally shot themselves or others. The victims of the shootings range in age from 1- to 71-years-old. The website also states that nearly two million children live in households with guns that aren’t stored responsibly.
In an incident last month, a 3-year-old was found dead from a gunshot wound in his father’s Racine, Wisconsin home. The father had loaded a single bullet into the gun before he got drunk and went to sleep with the gun in his waistband, Fox6 News reported. The father awoke to find his son dead.
According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, firearms are a leading cause of fatalities in children.
“Firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death overall among US children aged 1 to 17 years and the second leading cause of injury-related death,” the report states. This data set also includes the intentional use of firearms against children, including suicides and homicides. The study also says that 1,300 children die each year from gunshots, and 5790 are treated for gunshot wounds.