In an unintentional shooting, a 4-year-old Indiana girl was fatally shot by her 5-year-old sibling while playing with a gun. Police in Cumberland, In., found the girl, Deor Nita, suffering from gunshot wounds in an apartment around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, reports the Indianapolis Star. Preliminary information suggests that her sibling may have fired the weapon when they were playing, said Police Chief Suzanne Cooke-Woodland. Under the supervision of their great-great-grandmother, while their mother was working, they were playing with two other siblings. It was unclear where the toddler got hold of the gun and who owns it. Cooke-Woodland said guns are "not toys" and urged owners to "quit carrying them around" without safety devices or without storing them. “People carry guns without safety devices and this is what happens. They have no respect for firearms and just the massive power they have and what they can do to people," Woodland said, urging owners to get gun locks which are given away at many police and fire stations.
The shooting in Indiana is the latest in a recent string of incidents nationwide where kids are pulling the trigger. So far this year alone, there have been at least 186 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S., resulting in 66 deaths and 128 injuries, according to Everytown Research & Policy. The organization tracks media reports involving kids under 18 unintentionally shooting themselves or someone else. New research by the scientific journal Injury Epidemiology suggested that more than 90% of guns used in such shooting deaths were left unlocked and loaded. Most shootings happened at the victim’s home and in 8 out of 10 cases, the gun belonged to an older relative. About 4.6 million U.S. children were living in a home with at least one unlocked and loaded gun in 2021, said a study using data from the National Firearm Survey. Between 2015 and 2022, there were at least 2,802 unintentional shootings by children aged 17 and younger, said Dr. Judy Schaechter, a University of Miami public health professor, past president of the National Injury Free Coalition for Kids. The shootings resulted in 1,083 deaths and 1,815 nonfatal gun injuries, nearly all among other kids. And at least 895 preschoolers and toddlers managed to find a gun and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else.