A 12-year-old boy tragically died on Tuesday after being fatally shot by a 10-year-old.
The two children reportedly found a loaded gun while playing inside a home in north St. Louis, Missouri. While playing with the firearm, the 10-year-old fatally shot the older child, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Maj. Ryan Cousins, a St. Louis police officer, said that officers responded to a report of a shooting in the Walnut Park West neighborhood shortly after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Cousins said, “A 12-year-old was fatally shot, and it appeared the boy, and a 10-year-old family member had been playing with a gun they found when it went off, striking the 12-year-old.”
Reportedly, there was an emotionally tense gathering of people from the neighborhood in the incident’s immediate aftermath.
This tragic incident comes just days after the killing of two other children in a shooting at a family party.
The deceased, a 14-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, were cousins who were killed at a family party in an apartment.
The 12-year-old killed her 14-year-old cousin and then turned the gun on herself, taking her own life.
Family members of the children believe the deaths were accidental.
The shootings were publicly streamed on Instagram Live while the children were making a video together. Family members of the children said they were alone together in the apartment’s bathroom, with the gun, filming their video with the bathroom’s mirror.
The 12-year-old girl’s grandmother said that the children were close friends who were raised together. Family members said that the two children were always together, communicating through Facetime, rapping, making videos for social media, and pulling pranks.
She said, “It wasn’t a situation where they were arguing or anything like that. They were playing with the gun when they shouldn’t have been. Of course, they shouldn’t have been doing it. I think it just went off.”
“It went off by mistake,” she affirmed.
Initially, the St. Louis police listed the tragic incident as a “murder-suicide,” to the chagrin of the children’s family members.
The girl’s mother said, “It was no murder. It wasn’t a suicide.”
“It was a freak accident. It happened,” she continued.
The mother lamented that the children were “trying to be hip.”
According to data acquired from the FBI, St. Louis has the highest murder rate of any city in the United States. In 2018, St. Louis experienced 88.1 murders per 100,000 residents.
CBS News reported that in 2019, St. Louis retained its spot as the most lethal city in the country while its murder rate declined to 65.54 murders per 100,000 residents.