A 5-year-old Fresno girl was taken to the hospital in critical condition after being shot in the torso by her 7-year-old brother with a pellet rifle, said Tony Botti, spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting occurred around noon Monday west of Fresno, in the 1200 block of South Bryan Avenue.
The girl, who was not named, was in serious but stable condition on Monday evening after surgery. Botti said the shooting appears to be accidental but detectives are investigating.
The boy alerted adults to the girl’s injury. Her mother drove her up the road to the area of Bryan and California avenues, near Kearney Park, where she was met by an ambulance for the trip to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.
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The girl was shot in the upper body, Botti said.
Botti said the boy who shot the girl was “pretty hysterical and shaken up by the whole thing” and it’s going to take more time to get a clear statement from the child.
Botti said children are allowed to use pellet guns.
“Under California law, pellet guns are not required to be locked up,” Botti said, “since they are not considered to be real firearms.”
Botti said serious injuries from pellet guns are rare but can occur.
“These pellet guns nowadays are very powerful,” Botti said, “and you combine that with a smaller person and shooting them just in the wrong spot, it can hit a vital organ or artery, just as a bullet could, and cause some serious damage.”
Botti said it’s important for people to treat pellet guns “like a real gun – always act as if it’s loaded.”