GRAY, Georgia—Authorities say a 5-year-old shot a 2-year-old sibling at a Georgia home while playing with a gun and now the children’s uncle has been charged.
News outlets report the children found the gun in the home Wednesday, June 12, and were playing with it when it discharged.
The Jones County Sheriff’s Office says the 2-year-old was shot in the head and is in critical condition.
“Capt. Black said several people were at the home in the 100 block of Avalon Rd. in Macon when the incident happened,” WGXA reported.
NEW MUGSHOT: 18-year-old Darius Johnson is in custody after a 2-year-old was accidentally shot in the head in Jones County this morning. Johnson — the toddler’s uncle — is charged with Reckless Conduct and Theft by Receiving Stolen Property.
— WGXA (@WGXAnews) June 13, 2019
Authorities charged 18-year-old Darius Johnson with reckless conduct and theft.
Jones County Sheriff’s Captain Jimmy Black says the gun was stolen during a burglary about two weeks ago.
Johnson lived at the same home as the children when the shooting occurred. Sheriff Butch Reece says the gun was left where the children could get it.
It wasn’t immediately known if Johnson has a lawyer who could comment.
On the Jones County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Sheriff Reece posted about the incident.
“Please be responsible if you are going to have a weapon in your home. This was a tragic accident that should have never happen,” said Reece.
Accidental Shooting Deaths Halved
Accidental firearm discharges killed 486 people in 2017, down more than 50 percent since 1997, according to mortality data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Meanwhile, gun sales increased more than 80 percent between 1999 and 2017, according to The DataFace, a San Francisco data analysis company, which based its estimates on FBI background check data.
There appears to be a mix of factors behind the phenomenon.
A 6-year-old Georgia girl died in April after her 4-year-old brother accidentally shot her in the head in a car outside their home, authorities said.
The girl, identified as Millie Drew Kelly on a GoFundMe site set up for the family, was shot Monday evening at their subdivision about a 40-minute drive northwest of downtown Atlanta, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said.
The siblings were in a car in their driveway, preparing to go to the boy’s baseball game, when the vehicle failed to start. The mother exited to try to find out what was wrong with the car, authorities said.
The boy took a gun from the car’s console and accidentally fired it while his mother was outside, striking his sister in the head, the sheriff’s office said.
Emergency responders were called and took her to an Atlanta-area hospital. Two days later, detectives learned the girl had died, the sheriff’s office said.
“Our hearts break for this family and we hope God puts his healing hands around them during this difficult time,” Sheriff Gary Gulledge said in a statement posted to Facebook on April 11.
“We want to remind everyone to keep their firearms unloaded and secured in an area away from children to ensure that this never happens again,” Gulledge noted in a Facebook post.
Epoch Times reporters Jack Phillips, Petr Svab, The CNN Wire and The Associated Press contributed to this report.