ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Police say a 10-year-old was shot in the arm and shoulder by an 11-year-old in St. Petersburg on Monday.
Police said Marquis Strickland, 17, brought the gun into the home.
Strickland is charged with aggravated child abuse (culpable negligence), a felony charge.
Detectives said five children were inside the home on 17th Avenue S and 24th St. S, playing with the loaded gun when it went off.
“Just that kids found it in the residence and were playing with the firearm when it was accidentally discharged,” said Major Shannon Halstead, with St. Petersburg Police Department.
Officers were called to 17th Avenue South just after 10:30 a.m. They say the five children and Strickland were in the house at the time of the shooting. Strickland was watching the children.
Police said the 11-year-old thought the gun was not loaded and was fooling around with it. The gun went off twice, striking the 10-year-old in the shoulder and the arm.
Reshawn Hollis, a cousin of the victim, learned about the shooting on social media.
“I was just at home and I was on the front patio when somebody just started texting our phones or Facebook, somebody was saying, ‘your cousin got shot or something,’” said Hollis.
According to family, the 10-year-old and 11-year-old are friends.
Police are investigating where Strickland got the gun.
“Obviously could have been a very tragic situation, but I think it’s our opportunity as police department just to stress to people to be responsible gun owners and secure those weapons away from children,” said Major Halstead.
“It only takes a few seconds to lock up your gun and it is a matter of life and death. It makes a difference,” said relative Tricina Rucker.
The 10-year-old was taken to the hospital and is expected to be okay.
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