A gun left out in a Kansas City home led to the accidental shooting of a 4-year-old girl.
The girl remains in critical condition on Friday.
A father left his house and forgot his loaded gun in the living room, according to police. His wife didn't know the gun was out and within easy reach for small children.
Police said it appears another child in the house was playing with the loaded gun when it went off and now don't believe the little girl accidentally shot herself in the head.
"We saw police show up and a crime scene, so we assumed something bad happened," nearby neighbor Dan Peters said.
Peters was at home taking a shower when his dad told him about the emergency that was happening just two doors down near 105th Terrace and Monroe Avenue in south Kansas City.
Medical personnel were called to the area about 11:52 a.m. Thursday after a woman ran to a neighbor's house and asked the neighbor to call 911.
"He (my dad) came out and he saw the ambulance come and saw it was a small body on the stretcher, so he assumed it was a kid," Peters said.
Officials said a 4-year-old girl was playing in a room of the home with three other children who are all between the ages of 4 and 6. There was a loaded gun left on a chair in the room.
The girl's stepmother left the room and told police she came running back in when she heard the gun go off.
The girl was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital with critical injuries.
"It sounds like the gun was in the room with all the children, and we can't tell what exactly happened because the adult was out of the room," Sgt. Marisa Barnes with the Kansas City Police Department said.
Police said they will continue to investigate and forward the case onto the prosecutor's office, who will determine if charges will be filed.
Police said they have a lot of questions for the family, but those questions will wait while the woman, father and other children are at the hospital with the wounded little girl, who is undergoing surgery.
"Charges will be left up to the prosecutor, of course. But we always stress to have weapons secure, especially around children, so accidents like this don't happen. Unfortunately, we have to have something like this to bring attention to this issue," Barnes said. "We don't mind people having guns to protect themselves of that nature, but you have to be responsible with it."
Barnes said the accident should serve as a reminder to others.
"Just please, if you own weapons, secure them properly, especially around children," Barnes said.
Gun experts say tragedies like this one can be avoided by using gun locks.
"You insert a key into that key lock and you'll turn it and lock it. It's just that simple," said Brian Holmes of OMB Guns in Olathe. "It's completely preventable. It's negligence by the owner. A firearm should not be left loaded unless it's in the control of the person who purchased it."
Holmes said legally sold weapons come with standard issue locks.
"The lock can be run down the barrel, through the magazine well or through the cylinder of the revolver locking it so that the gun cannot fire," he said.
Unloaded guns should be stored in a gun safe, Holmes said.
KCTV5's DeAnn Smith and Dave Jordan contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:38 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:38:46 GMT
Aiken County deputies say they searched with New Ellenton police officers for two armed men who shot dogs on Sizemore Avenue on Saturday night. Aiken County deputies say they started searching for the suspectsMore >>
Aiken County deputies say they searched with New Ellenton police officers for two armed men who shot dogs on Sizemore Avenue on Saturday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:32 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:32:22 GMT
One person has been transported to the hospital after being shot at Axis Barbershop in Beech Island. Aiken County dispatch said it happened around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There are at least two suspects,More >>
One person has been transported to the hospital after being shot at Axis Barbershop in Beech Island.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:57 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:57:12 GMT
Richmond County Dispatch confirms there has been a stabbing at a Family Dollar. Deputies say it happened on the 2900 block of Dean's Bridge Road around 7:18 tonight. Information is limited at this tiMore >>
Richmond County Sheriff's Office deputies confirmed a stabbing at the Family Dollar on Dean's Bridge Rd. around 7:15 this evening.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:23 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:23:19 GMT
A fundraiser was held Saturday in honor of Wesley Spires. Local firefighters held a boot drive to honor their fellow volunteer firefighter who remains in critical condition after he was beaten by whatMore >>
A fundraiser was held Saturday in honor of Wesley Spires. Local firefighters held a boot drive to honor their fellow volunteer firefighter who remains in critical condition after he was beaten by what investigators said was a bat along the Augusta Riverwalk on May 3rd.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:05:19 GMT
Instead of spending the day at the computer, some Augustans spent their day learning about it. People gathered at the Imperial Theater for Web Afternoon. Mayor Deke Copenhaver gave remarks about Augusta'sMore >>
People gathered at the Imperial Theater for Web Afternoon. Mayor Deke Copenhaver gave remarks about Augusta's growth in the technology sector.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 5:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 21:55:44 GMT
Michael Robert Bradford, an employee of DynCorp International, has been killed in Afghanistan.Bradford was a Grovetown resident, according to information from a DynCorp spokesperson.The spokesperson toldMore >>
Michael Robert Bradford, an employee of DynCorp International, has been killed in Afghanistan.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:47 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:47:31 GMT
Georgia Power crews are working to fix power lines at William Few Parkway and Knob Hill that were struck from a car crash around 9 a.m. Saturday. Columbia County dispatch said two cars were involved withMore >>
Georgia Power crews are working to fix power lines at William Few Parkway and Knob Hill that were struck from a car crash around 9 a.m. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:40 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:40:22 GMT
Richmond County Sheriff's Office released the following information in regards to Deputy Creech: Sheriff Roundtree and the family of Deputy Alton Daniel Creech would like to thank everyone within our community forMore >>
Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way Extension, Augusta, Georgia on Tuesday morning, May 21, 2013 at 11am. Deputy Creech will lie in state for one hour prior to the service.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 11:31 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:31:56 GMT
Hundreds of people sang through their grief Friday night as they mourned the death of Richmond County deputy Alton Creech. Two of Creech's close friends, who go by Solo and Ruff, say they've been unableMore >>
Hundreds of people sang through their grief Friday night as they mourned the death of Richmond County deputy Alton Creech.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:49:03 GMT
It's that time of year again for swimming and the YMCA is stressing the importance of water safety. The YMCA wrapped up a week long program that teaches children the basics of water safety. This is partMore >>
The YMCA wrapped up a week long program that teaches children the basics of water safety. This is part of an initiative that is driven by CDC statistics; nearly 3,600 people die each year from drowning.More >>