JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville toddler remained in intensive care Tuesday evening after family friends said he got hold of a gun and accidentally shot himself at his parent's Northside home.
Bradley Schwarzer was taken to UF Health in life-threatening condition Monday after the shooting at a home near West 71st Street and Vermillion Street about 7 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Office.
The bullet entered through the child's abdomen and exited through his lower back, friends said. They said the boy remains in the intensive care unit, but noted he is showing signs of improvement.
The family friends said the parents, one of whom were home at the time, are struggling with what happened. They're asking the public to reserve their criticism of the parents.
"Don't beat the family up. Pray for them," Dale Anderson said. "All this stuff that's been on social media ... needs to come to a stop, because everything you say is nothing but hurt to these people, and you're making their situation a lot worse."
The 2-year-old boy has undergone two surgeries, but more procedures are expected as he recovers, Anderson said.
The Florida Department of Children and Families and the State Attorney's Office were both notified, the Sheriff's Office said.
Monday's shooting comes a day after a 14-year-old girl was wounded in what police described as an accidental shooting at her mother's hands on the Westside.
In that case, police said the mother was cleaning her gun inside the family's home on Playschool Lane near Ricker Road when the weapon discharged. The teen was hospitalized in serious condition.
It's unclear whether anyone will be charged in either case.
In Florida, parents and guardians can be charged with culpable negligence, a third-degree felony, when a child is injured or killed because a loaded gun was left within a child's reach.