JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) — An 11-year-old boy accidentally shot his 12-year-old brother while playing at their home in Ridgeland.
Jasper County officers responded to a call at 10 a.m. Saturday morning– a shooting involving two children.
“Mom was in the kitchen cooking breakfast, mom from our understanding, has a CWP, she had her pistol in the top drawer of her dresser,” said Jasper County Sheriff Chris Malphrus.
The mother was cooking breakfast, as the two boys played in the bedroom with their 17-year-old sister watching television.
“The sister was in bed watching TV, so not paying attention to the two boys playing,” said Malphrus, “The youngest boy, the 11-year-old, went to the bedroom, got mom’s gun, I guess he knew where it was at.. went back in the room and was playing with it… and the gun went off.”
Officials believe the gun ricocheted, hitting the dresser first and then the boy.
“We’re pretty sure it went into the neck back of the neck and it came out of the cheek, but he was in intensive care and up to this point, we believe he was moved this weekend to a regular room and will be released shortly,” Malphrus said, “Nothing life threatening, thank God. Just one of those crazy freak accidents that happen.”
But, it’s a freak accident that also happened a few hours later further South. An 8-year-old boy in Jacksonville, Florida accidentally shot and killed his 5-year-old sister and injured a 4-year-old neighbor when mom went to the store.
According to Every Town Research, 247 child shootings were reported in 2016.
It’s not uncommon for mom to have a gun, for citizens to have their concealed weapons permits, and we encourage those kinds of things,” said Malphrus, “But we also encourage gun safety and make sure that you secure your weapons at all times.”
Gun Broker Steven Manley with Plantation Iron says children should never be able to get ahold o of their parents’ gun.
“If you’re gonna have a loaded gun left in the home, it should have been secured in a safe or in a place where the children don’t know where it is or some place they can’t reach,” Manley said.
In his small shop in Bluffton, he sells gun locks and safes, but he says guns should come with locks, and if they don’t people can get them at local law enforcement offices.
“Some people like to keep the bullets separate from the gun because of children… some people like to keep it readily available in case something does happen, it’s personal preference,” Manley said, “If you have a safe, keep it in the safe, that’s the best way to do it.”
“I have children at home and I have a safe,” said Sheriff Malphrus, “I lock my guns in a safe at all times and I have peace of mind knowing that under no circumstances can my children get a hold of those guns.”
Malphrus said the sheriff’s department conducted their investigation of Saturday’s shooting and found that there was no criminal intent or malice by the young boy and no neglect on behalf of the mother or sister.