- Two-year-old Tyler Aponte died after his four-year-old brother accidentally shot him in the chest.
- The four-year-old, who was not named, had thought the gun was a toy.
- Police are trying to figure out how he managed to find the gun.
A four-year-old in Virginia has fatally shot his baby brother after mistaking a gun for a toy.
The four-year-old boy, who was not named, accidentally fired the gun and shot his two-year-old brother Tyler Aponte in the chest around 10.45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the local WVIR TV station reported, citing the local sheriff’s office.
Law-enforcement authorities found Tyler with a gunshot wound to the chest and not breathing when they arrived at the scene. The child was flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
The boys’ mother was at the family’s home in Louisa County at the time, while their father was at work.
Linda Eddy, the Apontes’ neighbor, told the local WWBT TV station: “Her and her husband both went down on their knees when he got here, it’s terrible.”
The sheriff’s office is investigating how the four-year-old got the gun in the first place. Eddy added that there was “no way they [the parents] would leave a loaded gun out.”
Around 4.6 million American children live in homes with unlocked and loaded guns, resulting in unintentional deaths in many cases, The Trace reported earlier this week.
More than two dozen states, including Virginia, have child-access prevention laws (CAP laws), which hold parents liable for their children having unsupervised access to firearms. However, the strength of these laws vary state-by-state.
It’s not clear whether any criminal charges will be filed in the Aponte case, the New York Post reported.