An 8-year-old boy was shot and killed by his 5-year-old brother in what Arkansas authorities believe was an accidental shooting.
“This is a tragic incident that could have been avoided. I can’t emphasize strongly enough that guns need to be well secured and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
“Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home,” he said.
The shooting, at a residence on the outskirts of Pine Bluff, remains under investigation, the sheriff’s office said. Pine Bluff, a city of around 40,000 residents, is 44 miles south of Little Rock.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services was notified of the shooting and arrived at the home to help assess the children’s welfare in the home. The boy’s body will be transferred to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, the sheriff’s office said.
There have been at least 126 unintentional shootings by children in the US this year, claiming at least 55 wounding 78 others, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety. Last year saw at least 392 unintentional shootings by children, which resulted in 163 people killed and 248 injured.