Georgia 5-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Brother After Thinking Gun He Found Outside Was a Toy, Police Say

Georgia police are investigating after a five-year-old child accidentally shot his 12-year-old brother dead with a gun that was discovered outside.

The victim was found with a gunshot wound to his chest by officers who responded to 608 Hammock Street in Griffin at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday. The child was rushed to the Wellstar Spalding Regional Hospital and later died as a result of the injury.

Investigators have said the preliminary probe suggests three children stumbled on the gun in a wooded area and believed it was a toy, Fox 5 reported.

Griffin Police Department said its investigations unit determined the location where the firearm was found was tied to an traffic stop incident earlier the same day.

The probe found individuals from that altercation fled behind houses close to where the shooting eventually occurred. At the time, officers found a bag of suspected MDMA at the crime scene but did not locate any weapons in the area.

The current understanding of the case is based on interviews that took place yesterday with two of the surviving children who were present at the time of the shooting. Police said they are both siblings of the 12-year-old victim, aged seven and five.

Statements from the five-year-old indicated the gun was found in a wooded area close to where the drugs were located and it discharged accidentally, striking his brother in the chest. Police said evidence and witness accounts corroborated the story.

Information was also obtained after officers made contact with the person behind the wheel of the traffic stop vehicle. Police did not say if he or she was charged.

Based on the testimonies, investigators said the probe is now focused on finding those responsible for ditching the firearm close to the residential area.

"We will leave no stone unturned as we search for the individuals responsible for the abandonment of this weapon," said Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates.

The weapon and the victim's clothing were collected and will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Crime Lab for further analysis, officials said.

In a media release, police said the weapon will undergo DNA testing to try to find out who previously touched it. The clothing will be subjected to gunshot residue analysis. The department didn't immediately confirm a time-scale for the results.

It has been contacted for additional comment.

The police department said yesterday that officials continue to investigate the case, which based on current evidence it described as being a "tragic accident."

It noted: "We will diligently pursue and charge any... parties responsible for actions leading up to the apparent abandonment of this weapon allowing for access by these innocent children. Our hearts cry out for this family during this time of tragic loss."

608 Hammock St.
City of Griffin Police Department said officers responded to 608 Hammock St. (pictured via Google Maps) on Saturday evening, approximately 7:40 p.m. City of Griffin Police Department/Google