GARY (ABC NEWS) - A 2-year-old boy was fatally shot by his 3-year-old brother in Gary Friday night, police said.
Officers responded to Northlake Methodist Hospital for a toddler who had been shot just after 7:20 p.m., police said.
When police arrived, they spoke with the boy's mother, who said the 3-year-old had accidentally shot the 2-year-old, according to police.
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The 3-year-old had found the gun in her purse, when she left a bedroom in a home in the 2100-block of Georgia Street, police said. Neighbors said they heard a loud bang just before 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The boy later died from his injury, and the Lake County Prosecutor's Homicide Task Force is investigating.
"We do criminal investigations, and then we present that to the Lake County prosecutor, who makes a decision whether its negligence or an unfortunate accident," said Gary Police Commander Sam Roberts.
Gary Mayor Jerome A. Prince and Gary Police Chief Anthony Titus released a joint statement, saying, "Our hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the two-year-old child who was so tragically taken from our community. We understand nothing we say will ease the pain these tragedies cause in our community.
This case is under investigation, but it's a difficult reminder of the responsibility we all have as adults in properly securing any firearms and devices that may become weapons in the hands of innocent children. Adults must become fully responsible when in possession of all firearms. Clearly, we must do more to protect our community members from accidents like these, and we are going to act now. We have free gun locks available at our Gary Police Department, 555 Polk St., and we are ordering many more. We will determine the best way to issue these free and potentially life-saving devices throughout our community."
As of July 2022, Indiana no longer requires a handgun permit to legally carry, conceal, or transport a handgun within the state. Anyone 18 years old of age or older, who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm by state or federal laws, may, with a few exceptions, do so.
Gary police stressed the importance of gun boxes or gun locks, which community Activist Andrew Holmes gave away along the block where the little boy lived.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call (219) 755-3855.