A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot his 2-year-old sister in Lakeland, 40 miles from Tampa, after finding a handgun that a family friend had hidden among the sofa cushions, according to authorities.
The girl was in extremely critical condition, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference.
After the baby was shot, three men who were in the house at the time picked up the children and got into a car to take them to the hospital. On their way, they collided with another vehicle, causing several injuries.
The girl and one of the adults were taken to the hospital by a Good Samaritan who had stopped to offer help after the accident, Judd said.
Three friends had gotten together on Friday night to watch television and one of them carried the gun. Kevonte ‘Wilson, 23, told investigators he put the gun between the sofa cushions so the children couldn’t see it.
The young man was arrested on charges of failing to safely store a firearm and possession of marijuana and could face other charges.
The home’s owner, Chad Berrien, 24, was charged with possession of marijuana and maintaining a home for drug use, the sheriff said.
The authorities did not indicate what relationship the defendants had with the minors.
The minor who accidentally fired the gun was taken away by the Florida Department of Children and Families and is now at his grandmother’s home.
“There was no reason to think it was an intentional act,” Judd said. “He was a baby who played with what he saw as some kind of toy.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.