(NBC NEWS) – A Tennessee 7-year-old was fatally shot by another child Monday when their parents left them in a car to go pay a cellphone bill, police said.
Four children had been left unattended in a parking lot in Crossville, Tennessee, about 70 miles east of Knoxville, Crossville police said, when one found a loaded semi-automatic postol inside their mother’s purse, which was in the car, NBC News reported.
“The child removed the magazine in an effort to unload the firearm. The firearm was accidentally discharged,” police said in a press release.
The shooting happened just before 3 p.m. outside a Verizon store. The boy was struck in the head, NBC affiliate WBIR reported. Police confirmed to WBIR on Monday evening that the boy had died after being taken to a Knoxville-area hospital.
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Crossville police said the incident “appears to be a tragic accidental shooting.”
The Cumberland County District Attorney General”s Office and the Department of Children’s Services are investigating.
An NBC News analysis from last month found that children in America are, tragically, often the victims of gun violence. Since the deadly December 2012 rampage on Sandy Hook elementary school, at least 555 kids under the age of 12 have died from gunshots, both intentional and accidental, according to the analysis. That’s an average of just under one death of a child by firearm every two days.