Police: Child accidentally shoots relative - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Police: Child accidentally shoots relative

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A man is fighting for his life after being shot in his own home by a child to whom he's related. The victim was rushed to the hospital from the 2300 block of Whitcomb Street. Detectives believe the juvenile accidentally shot his or her relative just after 11 a.m. Sunday.

Right now, they won't tell us if they are considering charges against the person who may have left the gun out and accessible to the child.

In the blink of an eye, Sunday, an accident turned tragic. Experts, like Richard Hill, say, while you would think people would be more conscious of gun safety after last year's multiple mass shootings, they hear about this kind of heartbreak all too often.

"An accident takes one second to happen," he maintained. "It takes that one second of 'I'm not thinking about it. I'll deal with it in just a second.' The minute you take your thumb off the switch is when the problem happens."

Police say Sunday's problem happened when a loaded gun was left sitting out in the man's home. They won't reveal how the victim and child are related, whether the child also lived in the house or exactly how old the child is. He or she is described as "a very young juvenile."

"Most people don't think children don't have that much hand strength but they have enough hand strength to pull the trigger," Hill explained. "Unfortunately, they're inquisitive and toddlers are at the age that they're going to get their hands on everything."

Even with the safety on, a gun isn't necessarily safe. Just one flick of a switch from a child's curious hands and most can be fired. Hill says you could prevent a child from getting its hands on the weapon in the first place with a safe or gun vault.

"These, short of coming up with a blow torch, are going to keep things secure," he added.

There are also trigger locks and, even better, devices that when secured, don't allow you to put ammo in the weapon and effectively disable the gun.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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