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The nephew of a Philadelphia Housing Authority police officer found the man's gun inside an SUV and shot another uncle, police said.
The shooting happened just before noon Friday along busy Arch Street near 16th.
The officer hid the gun under the passenger seat before going to run an errand, police said.
A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot his uncle in the shoulder just before noon Friday as they sat in an SUV in Center City, police said.
The boy found the handgun hidden under the passenger seat after police say another uncle, who is a Philadelphia Housing Authority police officer, put it there.
The shooting at 16th and Arch streets occurred as downtown streets began to fill with lunchtime crowds. The little boy, police said, was sitting in the back seat of a sports utility vehicle parked at the corner while the man shot was sitting in the driver's seat.
Numerous police cruisers swarmed the intersection near The Phoenix apartment building, which houses the Tir Na Nog restaurant, across 16th Street from Love Park.
The boy somehow unbuckled himself from the child seat and found the gun. The uncle hid it because he had to run into City Hall for an errand, but did not have his badge with him, police said.
The child shot it once and struck his uncle, who is believed to be in stable condition at a nearby hospital.
The gun used in the shooting is not believed to be his service weapon.
The uninjured uncle is being questioned by police. They expect to file charges in the shooting.