9-Year-Old Boy Finds Gun in Bedroom, Accidentally Shoots Self in South Philadelphia

A 9-year-old boy was recovering Friday morning after police say he found a gun in his parents' South Philadelphia home and accidentally shot himself.

Police were called to the house on 32nd Street near Dickinson, in the Grays Ferry neighborhood, just before 10 p.m., Chief Inspector Scott Small said. When they arrived, officers learned from family members that the boy found a gun in a front bedroom and accidentally shot himself in the left hand. His mother and other relatives had already taken him to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Police met the boy and his mother at Children's Hospital, Small said, and found that the boy was suffering a gunshot wound to his left ring finger.

Small said that a preliminary investigation indicated that the loaded gun had been hidden behind a bed in the front bedroom of the house. The boy found it and was playing with it when it accidentally discharged, wounding him. He said police found blood on the bed near the gun and a bullet hole in the bedroom wall. No one else was injured in the shooting.

The boy was expected to be OK.

"This could've been a lot worse," Small said. "We're very fortunate."

Small said the boy's accidental shooting should serve as a lesson to adults to store guns safely where children can't access them.

"The fact that a 9-year-old boy was able to get hold of a loaded semiautomatic weapon just goes to show that there wasn't safety used at this house to keep the weapon out of the reach of the child," the chief said. "If anything, have the bullets and the weapon separate."

Small said detectives were interviewing the boy's parents and other relatives who were in the house at the time. It was unclear whether any criminal charges would be filed.

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