Police in southern Kentucky town revealed that a 5-year-old accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister while he was playing with a .22-caliber rifle that he had received as a gift.
Kentucky State Police stated that the young girl, who lived in Cumberland County, was shot on Tuesday and was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. It was later revealed the girl died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Investigators explained the children's mother was home during the incident, but had briefly stepped outside when she heard the gun discharge, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told the Associated Press.
Reports indicate that the rifle was kept in a corner of a room and that the parents did not realize there was still a bullet in the chamber.
"It's a Crickett," White said, referring to the company that specifically makes guns for children. "It's a little rifle for a kid. ... The little boy's used to shooting the little gun," he told The Lexington Herald-Leader.
"Down in Kentucky where we're from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation. You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything," White added, insisting that is common for a child to have a gun, but very unusual for a child to be shot with one.
"Accidents happen with guns. They thought the gun was actually unloaded, and it wasn't," White said.
White said the shooting will be ruled accidental with the autopsy scheduled for Wednesday.
State police said the shooting occurred when the boy was "playing" with the rifle, but did not porivde any further details. It is not clear whether any charges will be filed, Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Billy Gregory said in a statement.
"I think it's too early to say whether there will or won't be," Gregory said.