PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — A 5-year-old Arkansas boy fatally shot his 8-year-old brother in what investigators believe was an accidental shooting with an unsecured gun, authorities said.
The 8-year-old was found unresponsive Thursday afternoon at a home in Pine Bluff, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Little Rock, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“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. said. “Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home.”
Investigators believe the shooting was accidental, the sheriff’s office said.
Woods told the Pine Bluff Commercial that the 5-year-old and four other siblings will be placed in the custody of a relative pending an investigation.
The sheriff said authorities were working to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed.