A 4-year-old seized a loaded handgun from a nightstand in her Indianapolis home and accidentally shot herself and her sleeping mother in the head, police say.
Investigators believe the unidentified child fired the weapon one time around 8:30 a.m. Sunday and that the bullet pierced the youngster’s cheek before striking her mother in the back of her head.
“When officers arrived, they came into contact with the father of the 4-year-old who stated that he and his fiancé were asleep when he was awakened by the sound of the gunshot,” the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said in a press release.
“He stated that his daughter shot herself in the face, and it is believed that same bullet struck his fiancé in the back of the head,” the department added.
Emergency medical service crews transported the girl to Riley Hospital for Children for treatment. She remained in stable condition as of Sunday afternoon. They took her mother, who police described as conscious and “alert” while at the scene of the shooting, to IU Health Methodist Hospital for surgery. Her current condition is not known.
The girl’s father later told officers that his 2-year-old son was in the same room and that other children were elsewhere inside the property at the time the firearm was discharged, but none were hurt.
Police continue to probe the incident, and have asked Child Protective Services for a separate investigation into the welfare of the children ― who have since been released back into the custody of the father.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department later posted this warning on Twitter about the importance of securing firearms away from children: