10-Year-Old Shoots 13-Year-Old Relative in Face While Playing With Unattended Gun in Bedroom

A 10-year-old shot a 13-year-old relative in the face while playing with a gun over the weekend, according to law enforcement.

During a family cookout in Nacogdoches, Texas, on Sunday, the two children picked up a .380 semi-automatic handgun left unattended in a bedroom at the back of the home, the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office wrote in a statement on Monday.

While playing with the weapon, the 10-year-old accidentally discharged it, striking the teenager in the face, according to police. The bullet exited the teen beneath the ear.

Police responded to the home at about 7 p.m., after receiving a report of the shooting. Upon arrival, they found family members rendering first-aid on the teenager, according to the statement.

Family members told officers the children were shooting a gun under adult supervision earlier in the day.

The sheriff's office and Texas Department of Child Protective Services are investigating the shooting.

Prosecutors may file criminal charges in the case, Sheriff Jason Bridges wrote in a statement to Newsweek on Tuesday.

First responders took the 13-year-old to a local hospital for treatment. They have since been released, according to Bridges.

The sheriff's office offered safety tips to prevent future accidental shootings.

"Firearms should always be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition in a locked container. A cable or trigger lock that prevents the firearm from operating should be used whenever possible," the statement reads.

Unintentional shootings involving children and teenagers occur occasionally in the United States and became more common during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data released last year by Everytown for Gun Safety indicated that accidental shootings involving children increased 31 percent from March to December in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

10-year-old shoots 13-year-old playing with gun
A 10-year-old accidentally shot a 13-year-old relative in the face while playing with a gun over the weekend in Texas. Above, a police cruiser in Dallas in 2016. LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Several children have been injured or killed during accidental shootings in recent months.

In Texas last month, a 4-year-old boy shot himself and a 2-year-old after getting hold of a handgun. He accidentally fired the gun, and a bullet passed through his arm and struck the toddler.

In October, a teenager accidentally shot and killed a 16-year-old boy while playing with a gun in Connecticut. The victim, Nigel Powell, suffered a wound to his head, and was taken to a hospital.

On Thanksgiving, a 13-year-old boy from Minnesota accidentally shot and killed a 5-year-old relative while handling a gun trying to make a social media video. Police arrested the teenager following the shooting, and the child died at the home. He could face manslaughter charges, and the owner of the firearm could also be charged.

Updated 12/07/2021, 5:46 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with statements from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office.