Boy, five, fatally shoots his eight-year-old brother in Arkansas

An 8-year-old boy was shot and killed by his 5-year-old brother in what authorities in Arkansas say was a “tragic accident”.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies received a 911 call of a “toddler involved shooting” at a rural address 45 miles (72kms) south of Little Rock just after 2pm on Thursday, according to a statement shared on their website on Thursday.

Deputies arrived soon afterward to find the boy unresponsive inside the home. The Jefferson County Coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

“This is a tragic incident that could have been avoided,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr said in a news release.

“I can’t emphasise strongly enough that guns need to be well secured and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times.

“Gun owners that do not properly secure their firearms are just one split second away from one of these tragedies happening in their home,” he added.

The name of the victim has not been released.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has been notified and conducted a welfare assessment of children at the home, authorities said.

Sheriff Woods told the Pine Bluff Commercial that the 5-year-old and four other siblings were being placed in the custody of an aunt pending an investigation.

Authorities were working to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed, he said.

Several weapons had been removed from the home, and officers were working to determine whether the gun had been left within the 5-year-old’s reach.

The boy’s body will be sent to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

KATU reported a 10-year-old from Little Rock was shot in the chest by his 13-year-old brother on 7 July.

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