BRIGHTON, Ala. - A 4-year-old boy was hospitalized in critical condition Saturday after undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head as police tried to determine whether he shot himself or was wounded by a playmate the same age.
"Right now the only thing we have is two children were in the room, apparently got hold of a gun and the gun was discharged," Brighton police Lt. Ray Hubbart said. "It appears to be accidental."
Hubbart said the child was wounded by a .38 special handgun that he and a 4-year-old cousin found while playing in a back bedroom of a home in Brighton, a small city about 11 miles southwest of Birmingham. Hubbart said he didn't know whether the gun was left out in the open or the children found it stashed in a drawer or some other part of the room.
At least two adults were home when the shooting happened Friday afternoon. Hubbart said they were in another room watching TV or playing video games. He said relatives told police the girl who had been playing with the wounded boy was his first cousin.
The injured boy underwent surgery Friday night at Children's of Alabama hospital in Birmingham and remained in intensive care Saturday, Hubbart said. Police were not releasing the name of the injured boy or the identities of others in the house Saturday, saying the disclosures might disrupt their investigation.
"We don't know if charges are going to be pending," Hubbart said.
The shooting of the Alabama boy came just a few days after authorities in southern Kentucky said a 5-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a rifle he had received as a gift.