A Hermiston toddler is in critical condition after being accidentally shot in the head by a seven-year-old sibling, according to the Hermiston Police Department.
Longterm prognosis for the boy, age 2, “cannot yet be determined,” the news release stated, and his name and other details are not being released in order to protect the identities of the minors involved.
The police department was contacted by Good Shepherd Medical Center shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday about a child with a gunshot wound to the head. After officers responded to the hospital and learned the location of the shooting, HPD officers and deputies from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office secured the scene. Pendleton Police Department also assisted by providing a child forensic interviewer.
According to the department, based on physical evidence and statements of family members it appears the toddler was accidentally shot by a sibling, age 7 with a .25 caliber Beretta handgun. The victim has since been transferred to an out-of-area hospital. Child Protective Services is involved and the case will be reviewed by the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges will be filed.
“It goes without saying that this is an incredibly horrible incident for the involved family, and the officers who responded, the medical professionals who treated the child, and the community as a whole,” the department stated. “If you own firearms, we urge you to store them in a safe manner to prevent unauthorized access.”
Centers for Disease Control estimated 77 children died from accidental gun discharges in 2015, but the Associated Press counted 141 cases that year reported in the media.
Gun locks are available for free from Hermiston Police Department. For more information about the gun locks call 541-567-5519.