4-Year-Old Boy Critically Wounded After Accidental Shooting in Home, Police Say

Investigators said early indications suggest it was an accidental shooting with an adult mishandling a gun

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Philadelphia police said a 4-year-old boy was shot when a family member accidentally fired a handgun inside of a home in the Germantown section of the city Thursday night.

Early indications suggest the family member mishandled the gun, causing it to fire once shortly before 8:30 p.m. on the unit block of East Penn Street, police said.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said the child was struck in the stomach and listed in critical condition at the hospital.

"Preliminary information is this 4-year-old child was in his house, which is the first floor apartment, in his living room, when a family member was handling a semi-automatic gun," Small said. "And that gun accidentally discharged, striking the 4 year old in the stomach."

First responders said the boy was semi-conscious when he was rushed to Einstein Medical Center. He was then air-lifted to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children for further treatment, Small said.

"I'm devastated that yet another innocent child was critically injured by gunfire in our city. While our department continues to investigate the circumstances of what initially appears to be a tragic accident, we pray that this boy - and all victims of gun trauma - make full recoveries," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said on Twitter. "These tragedies should never happen, and their impact affects entire communities. As parents, mentors, and community members we all have to do better; for our kids, ourselves, and each other."

Police said inside the home there were three other very young children playing with 4 year old at the time of the shooting, and second adult, as well. No one else was injured.

Small said the family member was taken into police headquarters for questioning and was cooperating with the investigation. The person may not have lived in the home with the boy.

No charges had been filed as of Thursday night.

"My advice is not to handle a weapon at all, if you don't have to, if there's a four year old and other very young children in the room," Small said. "I don't know the circumstances at this time as to why this individual was handling the weapon. But, [it's] always dangerous to have a handgun loaded inside of a property where there's several children playing."

According to the city controller's office, at least 153 children have been shot this year in Philadelphia.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

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