A NJ toddler shot his friend with a.22 rifle, leaving the 6-year-old victim in critical condition.
The shooting took place in the New Jersey town of Toms River, and police said it is still unclear exactly how the shooting occurred. The victim was taken to the hospital.
The incident in NJ has shaken the small community of Toms River, about 70 miles south of New York City. Police said the boy’s parents were outside when the boy walked into the house and came out with a loaded rifle. Somehow the NJ toddler fired a shot from the rifle, hitting his friend in the head.
Another neighbor, Debi Coto, was shocked that the NJ toddler was even able to shoot his friend. She criticized the boy’s father for keeping a loaded rifle where the 4-year-old could find it.
Neighbors said the 6-year-old was sitting in a go-cart when he was shot.
“It’s really difficult to deal with. This is something that shouldn’t have happened,” said the victim’s uncle, Daniel Watkins, who noted that he was in stable condition.
The NJ toddler who shoots his friend is similar to an incident the day before, where a 4-year-old in Tennessee found a loaded handgun pulled the trigger, killing the wife of a local sheriff’s deputy.
“Split second, we’re talking about seconds for that kid to walk in that room unbeknownst to them, grab that gun and it goes off,” said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan of the incident, noting that the deputy normally did not have small children at his home and the guns had been locked before.
The parents of the NJ toddler who shot his friend could face charges, police said. New Jersey allows for gun owners to be held criminally liable if a minor is able to get hold of a loaded firearm.