TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A 4-year-old child who brought a gun outside his home shot and seriously wounded a 6-year-old neighbor when the weapon somehow discharged as they played together, authorities said Tuesday.
The child got the .22-caliber rifle from inside his home in Toms River in southern New Jersey and it discharged accidently around 6:40 p.m. Monday, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said during a news conference. The wounded child was about 15 yards away from the younger one at the time.
The younger child’s mother then called 911 to report the shooting, Coronato said.
The wounded child was shot in the head and hospitalized in serious condition, and further details on his injuries were not disclosed. The younger child was not hurt.
Coronato declined to provide specific details on the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation, and said it was “too early” to know whether anyone would be charged in the case. He would not say who owned the gun or speculate on how the 4-year-old got the weapon.
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy called the shooting a “tragic incident” that has affected the whole community.
“Right now, we’re keeping this child in our prayers, and I ask everyone to do the same,” he said.
The shooting occurred in what neighbors say is a quiet residential area of the Ocean County community, at a home near the edge of a cul-de-sac.