A 12-year-old boy has been charged as a juvenile in the shooting of a teenage girl who was hit in the face by a gunshot during a church group meeting in a home in northeast Philadelphia's Rhawnhurst neighborhood.
Investigators say the boy was showing off his family's gun collection to three girls inside the basement of a home on the 2000 block of Glendale Avenue Monday, shortly before 10:30 a.m. Monday. He then accidentally fired a gun he was holding and struck one of the girls in the face. Investigators say the boy didn't realize the gun was loaded.
The victim, a 14-year-old Lansdale resident, was taken to a hospital where she remained Tuesday in stable condition. No other injuries were reported in the shooting.
“She’s very, very lucky,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. “This could have been a potentially tragic incident."
Navid Samuel, the boy's grandfather, was upstairs with two other adults, when the shooting took place. He went to the hospital with the girl.
“The bullet just gone through,” Samuel told NBC10. “She’s OK. She was talking. Her vital signs are OK.”
Investigators searched through the home and found four guns, including a pair of shotguns, as well as two bulletproof vests and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition, police said.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
It's not yet clear how the boy got possession of the weapon that was used in the shooting.
Samuel told NBC10 he owns the guns as protection because someone recently broke into his home. He also said he’s unsure of how his grandson pulled a gun from the safe and loaded it.
The boy is charged with aggravated assault, firearms violations and related offenses. His name hasn't been released since he is charged as a minor.
Police are also investigating the family members who own the guns. They say they may also face charges but as of Tuesday morning, no adult charges are filed.
“I’m not anti-gun,” Ross said. “I’m pro-gun but for me, I’m about responsible gun ownership.”
Most accidental shootings occur when children play with guns in the home and 89 percent of those shootings end in death, according to researchers with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The Rhawnhurst shooting came only hours after another shooting involving a teen in Philadelphia. A 16-year-old girl was shot multiple times inside a house full of teens on Whitby Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia around 1 a.m. Monday. She was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition.
Investigators say the teens involved in the Whitby Avenue incident were unsupervised as well.
On Friday, 17-year-old rapper Tauhid "Tata Chapo" Collins, was shot and killed on the 5800 block of Angora Terrace. Two days later, moments after the end of a Sunday night vigil in remembrance of Collins, more shots rang out.
During that shooting, an 18-year-old was shot in the neck, ear and temple. He died at a hospital after his body was found on the 6000 block of Angora Terrace, just two blocks from where Collins died.
No arrests have been made in any of those shootings.
Philadelphia police officers with the 12th and 18th district plan to hold an emergency meeting on the recent violence involving children Thursday at 6 p.m. on 846 S. 57th Street.