A 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother after finding a loaded gun in the family’s home and thinking it was a toy, a tragic case that has ignited new debate over gun reform.
The tragic incident happened in Louisa County, Virginia, this week. Local police said the boy somehow found the gun inside the family’s home and was playing with it when it accidentally discharged, striking 2-year-old Tyler Aponte in the chest. The boy was rushed to the hospital but died of his injuries, PIX11 reported. The mother of the children was home when the shooting took place.
Police in Virginia are using the tragedy as a way to warn people about the importance of properly securing their firearms.
“It’s of paramount importance to make sure your guns are secured and out of the reach of children and everything,” Major Donald A. Lowe said. “At least have them unloaded or a safety lock on them, whatever you have to do to keep them from being discharged accidentally.”
Neighbors said they were shocked at the shooting, noting that the Aponte family were responsible people who took good care of their children.
Just a few weeks ago, a similar story from Indiana made nationwide headlines. As CNN reported, a 3-year-old somehow got her hands on a loaded gun while the family was in their car. Two children were in the backseat while their mother sat in the driver’s seat in a supermarket parking lot, with the mother’s boyfriend inside shopping. The gun discharged, shooting the girl’s mother who was sitting in the driver’s seat.
The mother exited the car after being shot and collapsed. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, and her boyfriend was taken into custody for leaving the loaded weapon inside the car. Store employees said they heard the woman screaming and went to help, and some of them helped get the children out of the car and to safety.
The shooting in Virginia has made nationwide headlines and has been used as evidence for those seeking gun reform in the wake of high-profile school shootings in Florida and Texas. Others noted that responsible gun ownership would have prevented the tragedy, not stricter gun control measures.
Police said the shooting in Virginia is under investigation. They have not indicated if anyone in the family could face criminal charges after the 4-year-old accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother.