4-year-old boy shoots, kills 19-month-old brother in US

4-year-old boy shoots, kills 19-month-old brother in US

4-year-old boy shoots, kills 19-month-old brother in US

A four-year-old boy in the US has accidentally shot and killed his 19-month-old brother with a handgun, the fifth such tragic incident in the country within a month involving children.

The two brothers had been playing together in their parents' home in Wichita, Kansas, with their 3-year-old half-sister when their father, in a neighbouring room, heard the gun go off, The Wichita Eagle reported.

The innocent play of the three young children took a tragic turn, police officials said, as one of them reached into the drawer of a nightstand and pulled the trigger of a handgun stored there, fatally wounding his brother.

"It was a terrible, terrible tragedy," Lt Todd Ojile said, describing how the 19-month-old boy died at Wesley Medical Center, less than an hour after he was shot in the chest on Tuesday.

The toddler was in a bedroom of the small house with his 4-year-old brother and 3-year-old half-sister, Ojile said.

The 33-year-old father of the children and his brother were in the living room, and the door between the two rooms was open.

The two mothers of the three children "were out picking up some things from a store and getting ready to go to work," Ojile said.

A 9mm handgun was stored in a nightstand drawer in the bedroom where the children were playing.

"It appears the 4-year-old did know where this firearm was," Ojile said. "He had seen the firearm."

He did not lift and point the handgun, Ojile said. It appears he simply reached in and pulled the trigger, with the bullet passing through the nightstand and striking his brother, who was standing close by.

On April 18, a three-year-old girl in Cache County, Utah, accidentally shot and killed her two-year-old brother.

A day before that incident, a 6-year-old boy accidentally killed a woman in South Carolina when he shot a loaded gun he found in a car.

Also in April, a five-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a seven-year-old girl while playing at a birthday party in Gaston, South Carolina, and a two-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 11-year-old sister while playing with a handgun in Philadelphia.