Missouri Boy, 5, Fatally Shoots 9-Month-Old Brother
A northwest Missouri family is reeling after a 5-year-old boy fatally shot his 9-month-old brother with his grandfather’s revolver.
The tragedy occurred shortly before 9:00 a.m. Monday in Elmo, near the Iowa border, WDAF reports. The victim and his brother were reportedly visiting their grandparents’ home along with their mother and two other siblings, although the family may have been living at the 101 South Scott Street residence.
According to the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Office, the boys’ mother said her 5-year-old had shot his infant brother in the head with a paintball gun. But officers and paramedics responding to the call realized the baby had been shot with a .22 revolver belonging to his grandfather.
The weapon was stored on a shelf built into the headboard of the master bed.
“It was just lying out,” explained Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White to the Washington Post.
The baby was sleeping in a crib in that room when the fatal shot was fired into his head.
“Little kids are curious,” said White. “It was in the headboard of the bed, and he found it.”
The boys’ mother, who was in the kitchen, heard a loud noise and went to investigate. She found three of her children, including the 5-year-old boy, in the living room. She then found her fourth child playing with a paintball gun, prompting the terrifying discovery and a 911 call.
“I just happened to be standing by and answered the phone,” White told KETV. “The lady on the other end was very frantic and said that she needed an ambulance at her home in Elmo.”
The victim was airlifted to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where he was pronounced dead just before noon.
Police told reporters they have no reason to believe the shooting was not an accident. Several other weapons were found in the home, and an investigation is underway.
Gun safety expert Don Pind of Professional Firearms Consultants in Kansas City, Missouri told WDAF that ultimately, parents are responsible for keeping their guns out of children’s hands.
“The parents need to keep them away from it; lock them up, whether it be in a gun sock,” said Pind. “Padlocks are available free from the police and sheriffs’ offices,” he added.
The family disaster has rocked tiny Elmo, home to just 166 residents.
“They’re a very good family and this was a tragedy,” neighbor Kathy Armentrout told WDAF. “It’s a sad deal. I just hope everybody prays for them.”
Sheriff White said local residents are “big supporters of firearms.”
“We live in a rural area,” he explained. “We have a lot of people who own weapons. They hunt. They shoot. Most people are very safe with them, and this is one of those cases where everything went together in the wrong way.”