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4-year-old shoots 4-year-old cousin dead with shotgun while playing

A 4-year-old boy was fatally shot Thursday in a Detroit home by his 4-year-old female cousin in what authorities are calling a tragic, avoidable accident. Detroit police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the children were playing in the back bedroom of the house when the girl found a loaded rifle underneath the bed.

A tragic event in Detroit Thursday as a 4-year-old shot his 4-year-old cousin to death while playing.
Daily News/Getty images

Woody said the girl pointed the gun at her cousin and pulled the trigger, shooting him in the chest. The child was taken to Henry Ford Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to USA Today on Jan. 17

Police said one adult was present in the home at the time of the shooting. Some are saying it was the children's grandfather, but CNN reports Detroit Deputy Chief Rodney Johnson called the adult a family friend unrelated to the children.

A third 5-year-old cousin was also present in the room but was unharmed. "It's too early to say if charges will be filed in this case", Johnson told reporters.

Police Capt. Rodney Cox said the department stands behind responsible gun ownership, and that preliminarily investigation indicates this does not appear to be responsible gun ownership.

Woody said guns should be kept unloaded, locked in a case and out of the reach of children. This is a prime example of how we must maintain gun safety Cox added.

Nearby neighbors say they didn't hear any gunshots and aren't well-acquainted with the people who live at the house.

"I was just devastated", said 77-year-old neighbor Dorothy Jameson. "I was wondering why two 4-year-olds have access to a gun in the first place".