An 18-year-old girl and 3-year-old were injured in a shooting Monday morning, which the 18-year-old victim initially told police was a drive-by incident. Later, the teenager revealed the shooting occurred when she was playing with a gun inside of a home.
Monday morning’s shooting was the second accidental shooting of a toddler in St. Louis within one week. Last Tuesday, a 3-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head while playing with an unsecured firearm in a north St. Louis home.
Neighbors told News 4 Monday’s accident was the result of an irresponsible gun owner putting a child’s life in danger because of careless behavior.
“It’s a blessing nobody died,” said neighbor Deshabille Payne. “It’s a sad situation, but nobody died.”
Around 4 a.m. Monday, Officers were called to the 3700 block of Wisconsin, where they were told an 18-year-old woman and 3-year-old girl were shot by an unknown suspect in a black Grand Pr ix.
Upon further investigation, it was revealed the victims were inside the house during the shooting.
The 21-year-old man, a relative of the toddler, was babysitting and the 18-year-old, who was visiting the home, were sitting on a bed while the 18-year-old played with a handgun. The gun then went off and bullets struck her and the 3-year-old.
“Last I hear about the baby she was alright, she just had a little graze wound and it’s a blessing that she did’t die or nothing,” said Payne.
Officials at Children’s Hospital said they treat an average of seventy juvenile gun victims a year, but recently doctors have seen an alarming trend.
“We’be seen an uptick in the number of children shot, but what’s most troubling is that we’re seeing a growing number of young children under eight who are being shot,” said Dr. BO Kennedy of Children’s Hospital.
Since January first, there have been 22 cases of children being shot in the St. Louis area. Out of the 22 hurt, 11 were under the age of ten. One was a preteen and ten of the victims were teenagers.
Meanwhile, neighbors have a message for gun owners.
“You should be more responsible. There should’t be as many guns out here, because kids are getting hurt,” said Payne.
After last week’s accidental shooting, the toddler’s uncle was charged with child endangerment for leaving his handgun unsecured.
So far no charges have been filed in Monday’s shooting.