A boy shoots his sister after getting his hands on a stolen handgun, according to police in New Jersey. The New York Daily News reported that the boy, 12, found the loaded 9mm gun inside his home. Police say that the gun was stolen from Alabama, and was left unsecured. The boy took the gun into another room to play with it, and accidentally shot his younger sister in the chest. The 9-year-old girl was listed in critical but stable condition at University Hospital in Newark.
"Police arrested the children's mother, Catrease Thomas, 33, on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a weapon. Cops said charges were also pending against Thomas' boyfriend," according to the report.
Catrease reportedly said that the gun belonged to her boyfriend, but police have not confirmed that information.
The boy who shot his sister may or may not have meant her any harm. Many would argue that a 12-year-old boy is old enough to know what a gun is, and what a gun does, but it's unclear if police are going to charge him or if this was indeed an accident. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the young boy was "playing" with the gun, which makes it sound like he didn't know it was real -- or that it was loaded. Police will hopefully get to the bottom of this as an investigation is ongoing at this time.
According to Yahoo! News, this incident could have been avoided. Aside from the fact that the gun was stolen, had the mother of the two kids actually kept the gun somewhere out of sight and reach, the boy may have never gotten his hands on it. Now, his little sister is said to be "clinging to life."
When a headline reads "boy shoots sister," some people immediately think that there may be some sibling rivalry going on, but it sounds like this was a case of neglect. Once again, a story like this brings up the importance of keeping handguns locked in a safe at all times because you never know who is going to find a gun and shoot it. It is unknown if Thomas' children have been placed in protective custody though that is presumed. If Thomas is convicted, she may lose custody of her two children altogether. This story is still developing. More information should be made available pending the outcome of the investigation.