(PHILADELPHIA) — A 10-year-old boy has died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head after he found the gun while he and his sister were home alone playing, police say.
The incident occurred at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, in the Tioga-Nicetown area of Philadelphia when the 10-year-old boy, along with his 8-year-old sister, were home alone and reportedly discovered a gun that was in a cabinet, according to ABC News’ Philadelphia station WPVI.
“Supposedly there was a gun inside a cabinet that the children located and, at some point, the child discharged the weapon into his own head,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Lee Strollo told WPVI in an interview following the tragedy. “We’re looking into how the gun got on location and who the owner of the gun is.”
The boy’s sister immediately ran to a neighbor’s house for help. Witnesses say the boy was rushed to the hospital but was eventually pronounced dead.
“We as a society got to get it together, because our young children should not be having to go through this,” a witness told WPVI.
“When I hear a child, that’s what brings tears to my eyes,” added Willie Porter, another witness from North Philadelphia.
Police said that the gun should never have been out in the open to begin with and that the children should not have been left at home alone either. It is unclear how long the children had been on their own for or where their parents were at the time of the shooting.
“[The gun] was freely accessible to the children,” Police Capt. Strollo told WPVI. “They should be locked up, at least in a lock box, with only the adult owner having possession of that key.”
Authorities say that there could be charges filed against the person who owns the gun.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw issued a statement shortly after the needless tragedy.
“Another one of our precious children has died as the result of gunfire,” she said. “As a community, we must all strive to do better in keeping guns out of the hands of our kids.”
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