- (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)
A NJ toddler has shot his friend with a .22 rifle, in what appears to be a tragic accident this week.
The young victim was six year old friends, and he was accidentally shot by his four year old friend, leaving him in critical condition and fighting for his life.
The incident took place in the New Jersey town of Toms River, which is about 70 miles away from New York City.
According to reports, the young victim was rushed to hospital following the accident and he remains there receiving medical treatment in critical condition.
Authorities have described that the boy's parents were outside with the boys when one of them went into the house. However, when he emerged back to the garden he was holding the loaded rifle.
Before anyone could do anything, the boy managed to set off the trigger and a single bullet was fired, hitting his young friend in the head.
According to reports, a neighbor of the residence where the accident took place has criticized the toddler's father for keeping a loaded rifle where such a young boy could reach it.
Neighbors have reported to media that the victim was sitting in a go-kart playing in the garden when the four year old shot him.
The victim's uncle, Daniel Watkins, has explained that the boy is in a critical but stable condition. He has said, "It's really difficult to deal with. This is something that shouldn't have happened."
The parents of the NJ toddler could face criminal charges, police said. New Jersey allows for gun owners to be held criminally liable if a minor is able to get hold of a loaded firearm.
The incident comes just a day after reports emerged about another four year old managing to get his hands on a family gun and shooting dead a woman.
In that incident the four year old killed a 48 year old woman in Lebanon, Wilson County at the weekend.
The victim was the wife of a Wilson County Sheriff's Office deputy. She was shot dead after the child got hold of a gun at a family cookout event.
Reports describe that Josephine G. Fanning and the toddler went into a bedroom in the home where husband Daniel Fanning was showing a handgun to another guest at the residence. However, the young child got hold of the gun, which was apparently placed down on a bed, and unwittingly fired a shot that hit Josephine. Emergency services were immediately called to the scene, but she was pronounced dead at the home, according to The Tennessean.
The gun was the deputy's own personal gun and not a police issued firearm, according to reports.
The child was reportedly a relative of the deputy and the victim, although their exact relationship was not immediately verified.
The incidents have sparked further debate on gun control laws.
Here is a video of President Barack Obama giving a speech in Connecticut on gun control laws: