Missouri Girl, 6, Shot Dead by 12-Year-Old Brother While Parents Were at Christmas Party

9mm handgun
A Glock 9MM pistol is pictured 17 April 2007 in Centerville, Virginia. Missouri police said a 12-year-old boy found a 9mm handgun in his parents' dresser and accidentally shot his sister in the head. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

A 6-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed by her 12-year-old brother on Friday in their St. Louis suburban home while their parents were away at a Christmas party, authorities said.

Police said that Maliyah Palmer was shot in the head by her older brother on Friday night. The 12-year-old reportedly found a 9mm handgun in a dresser drawer in their parent's bedroom and accidentally shot his sister in the head.

The two siblings were being watched by their 16-year-old sister during the time of the shooting, police said. Police were called to the home on the first block of Holly Lane in Florissant, Missouri, at around 11 p.m. on Friday.

Florissant Police Officer Steve Michael confirmed in a press release that a child "accidentally discharged a round" at the home.

"Investigators have determined that this was a tragic accident and no charges will be filed at this time," Florissant Police said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

However, Police Chief Timothy Lowery later clarified on Monday that investigators will turn in their findings to prosecutors, who may decide to pursue charges. Lowery noted that the procedure was standard in any case.

Police had not presented their findings to prosecutors as of Monday morning, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"You couldn't have written a more tragic script, the whole thing is just so tragic and terrible, but we have to put our person feelings aside and do the law enforcement side of this," Lowery said.

"All of the officers who responded to the scene are mothers and fathers, so you can only imagine how personal it is to see a child shot in the back of the head," the police chief added. "We will have counselors here for a debriefing hopefully this week to make sure the mental state of our officers is OK."

Parkway School District spokeswoman Cathy Kelly said the district would provide counselors to Green Trails Elementary School, where Maliyah was a first-grader, on Monday. Principal Rene Sommers told parents in a letter Sunday that the school was working with the bereavement center called Annie's Hope.

"Our goal will be to keep the day and routine normal," Sommers wrote to parents. "We will share the news honestly and openly so that understanding, processing, grieving and healing can begin."