A four-year-old girl in Chester, Penn., has died after her two-year-old brother accidentally discharged a gun inside the parked vehicle where they were waiting.
The Chester police investigation into the incident revealed that the boy had been “handling a gun” inside the vehicle that was parked at a mini mart gas station. The gun discharged around 10:47 a.m., striking his sister.
The four-year-old girl was rushed to a local hospital by adults who were on the scene but she was pronounced dead, police said.
It was not made clear who the gun belonged to, how the toddler got a hold of the weapon, or even what kind of gun it was.
Witnesses at the scene told CBS News that the children’s father was outside the vehicle when the tragic shooting occurred, and that the family are known to frequent the mini mart.
One local said that the two kids were close to their father.
“It was a morning ritual, I’d see them every morning,” Theodore Thaddeus Crump said. “He was a good dude. He went to work every day. He kept his kids right there beside him. It’s the number one thing that he did, OK. Their dad was a very beautiful man.”
The investigation into the incident is being led by Det. Raheem Blanden, who confirmed to NBC News that the two children were indeed siblings.
Jack Stollsteimer, District Attorney for Delaware County, where Chester is located, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that his office is assisting in the investigation into the “absolutely tragic” shooting.
“Everybody in the community of Chester, in Delaware County, myself included, all of us are just heartbroken to think of what happened to this poor child,” he said.
According to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, at least 51 unintentional shootings by children have occurred in the U.S. so far this year. These incidents have resulted in 17 deaths and 38 injuries.
Just last month, a three-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his mother inside a parked car outside a Chicago supermarket. The family was sitting inside the car when the boy found the gun and discharged it.