A five-year-old in Detroit has become the latest casualty of accidental shooting incidents involving children in the US. The girl killed herself when she accidentally discharged a gun that she found under a pillow in her grandmother's bedroom.
The girl, identified as Mariah Davis, shot herself in the throat and was pronounced dead on arrival at a Detroit hospital.
Detroit police officer Dan Donakowski reportedly told Detroit Free Press that the girl was in an upstairs bedroom while her grandmother was downstairs cooking at the time of the tragic incident. "She fired a shot, striking herself in the body," Donakowski said, adding that the grandmother was taken into police custody for questioning. Two other children were upstairs with the deceased girl at the time of the shooting but are unharmed, Donakowski added. A spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office said an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday (12 May).
The Detroit News reported that the handgun was a Colt .38 with which the girl fatally shot herself in the throat just after midnight Wednesday (11 May). She was playing with her 1-year-old brother and a neighbour's 3-year-old daughter at the time of the shooting. Her grandfather, who was watching television in a nearby room, came rushing on hearing the gunshot and found the girl lying unconscious. She was rushed to Sinai-Grace Hospital in the city but was pronounced dead.
Police will reportedly submit an investigative report to Wayne County prosecutors, who will then decide whether to level any charges on the grandparents.
According to Detroit Police Department reports, Davis is the fourth child to die in 2016 in a shooting incident in the city. In 2015, there were 11 such deaths, seven in 2014 and 13 in 2013. Shooting incidents where small children get access to guns and accidentally shoot either self or others has been o the rise across the US, with 23 cases of toddler shooting reported so far in 2016.
The latest incident has reportedly led to calls for gun safety in the city. Police officials are urging people to be more careful about firearms and to ensure they are out of reach of small children.