Police: Toddler accidentally shot by 5-year-old

21-month-old boy hospitalized in critical but stable condition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A toddler was hospitalized after he was accidentally shot Tuesday evening by another child at a home, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Officers responded about 9 p.m. Tuesday to a shooting inside a home on Jernigan Road, where they said they found a 21-month-old boy with apparent life-threatening injuries. Police said that the boy was transported to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery due to a gunshot wound.

The boy was reportedly listed in critical but stable condition.

Investigators said they believe the 21-month-old was shot by a 5-year-old child inside the home at the time. Investigators said there also was an adult in the home at the time of the shooting.

“I was asleep and I woke up to a bang and then 10 minutes later I saw a bunch of blue sirens," said neighbor Ronald Taliaferro.

At a news briefing hours after the shooting, police initially said that they could not specify how the toddler was injured. Detectives said Wednesday that they were following up leads and looking at evidence as they continue to investigate.

According to neighbors, the two children involved in the accidental shooting are brothers. Taliaferro said he’s used to seeing the children play in their front yard nearby when he gets home from work, and he reached out to the family once he heard about the tragic incident.

“I gave him a text message earlier today saying I was sorry about what happened, and that I’m sorry for what happened,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office reminded gun owners to make sure all firearms inside their homes are secure.

“Tragic, just tragic," Taliaferro said. “You got to lock your weapons these days.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.

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