MSP: 6-year-old boy handling gun when 5-year-old shot & killed

MSP: Child dies of gunshot wound in Garfield Township
Posted at 10:53 AM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 22:21:42-04

GARFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Michigan State Police say the gun that fired the bullet that killed a 5-year-old in Newaygo County on Monday was in the hands of a 6-year-old.

Investigators released a short update on social media Wednesday, saying the two children found the gun in the bedroom of their grandparents' home on Birmingham Avenue, near 68th Street in Garfield Township. They declined to explain how exactly they were related.

MSP: 6-year-old boy handling gun when 5-year-old shot & killed

“A split second decision can change people's lives,” said Lt. Michelle Robinson. “Children get curious, and a lot of times, they don't understand.”

State police say the 6-year-old was handling the gun when it discharged. The 5-year-old boy, who lives in Newaygo, was shot. He died from his injuries.

According to Robinson, “adult individuals” were in the home at the time, but did not specify beyond that. She also did not say whether the gun was properly stored.

In February, a new law went into effect which requires firearm owners in the state to keep unattended weapons unloaded and locked if its reasonably known that a child will be on a property.

“You can't make mistakes with firearms,” said Jonathan Gold, the president of the Michigan chapter of Giffords Gun Owners for Safety. “You cannot take a bullet back. Once a bullet leaves the barrel of a gun, it is a deadly projectile and you are responsible for wherever that bullet goes.”

Gold says its “obscene” young children can get ahold of a firearm. He believes when instances like it take place, adults should be held accountable.

“An accident is when someone doesn't look the right way, making a left turn in an intersection and two cars hit each other,” said Gold. “That's an accident. No one meant for that to happen, no one was probably irresponsible when that happened. It was a mistake. Any adult who leaves a gun, where a child can get to it has not made a mistake, they are negligent.”

Free gun safety kits can be obtained through local police departments or Project ChildSafe.

“We do encourage anyone that has a firearm in their home to keep that secure, get gun locks for your firearms so that we don't have another tragedy like this,” said Robinson.

The investigation into the shooting remains active. Once complete, Michigan State Police will forward the report to the Newaygo County Prosecutor's Office.

'This is obscene': Gun violence prevention experts talk Newaygo County Shooting

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