On a Sunday evening in suburban Houston, two toddlers have left the supervision of an adult when they entered an apartment bedroom; this, when five adults, including their mother and stepfather, were inside the apartment unit. That’s when the three-year-old girl accessed a loaded semi-automatic pistol and unintentionally shot her four-year-old sister with it. The adults called emergency services, but when authorities arrived, the four-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene.
"I do want to make sure that I emphasize that we're still in the preliminary phases of the investigation. We need to talk to everyone that's involved to try to get a full and complete story of what happened," [Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez] said. "But it just seems like another tragic story of, again, a child gaining access to a firearm and hurting someone else, and this time it was a fatal shot, appears to be to her sibling."
The investigation continues, and the sheriff says investigators will consult with the district attorney’s office to determine what charges could be possible.
The sheriff is reminding gun owners to secure their firearms.
"It's just, again, very tragic and very preventable. You've got to make sure you're being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place. It's got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons," the sheriff said. "We've got to do a little bit more, and we see far too many tragic situations like this unfold."
According to research from Everytown for Gun Safety, there were at least 24 unintentional shootings by children in Texas last year; by comparison, there were only 3 unintentional shootings by children in California. The aforementioned 24 shootings resulted in 14 deaths and 11 injuries.