GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – An 8-year-old boy was killed in an apparent accidental shooting in Greenville, according to the Greenville Police Department.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, GPD responded to the 1100 block of Van Dyke Street for the report of a shooting.
Officers said based on the information gathered at the scene it was revealed that the 8-year-old boy was alone in a family member’s parked car when he gained access to an unsecured firearm. The gun discharged and he suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
The child was rushed to Vidant Medical Center where he died from his injuries at approximately 5 a.m. Thursday morning.
Family members of the 8-year-old boy said this was a tragic accident, but there is something to be learned from the incident.
“It’s sad we’ve got to bury ours, but we’re trying to save somebody else’s,” said Demetrius Johnson, a family member of the child.
The boy’s family is pleading with the community for gun owners to practice safety.
“Be responsible with your firearms,” said Johnson. “Lock them up. Make sure they are safe from your kids because tragedy could happen at any moment.”
A spokesperson with GPD said there are several ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
“We would certainly advise everyone who is a registered gun owner to securely lock their firearms,” said GPD Public Information Officer Kristen Hunter. “There are gun safes that are made specifically for vehicles. There are safes that you can place in a closet or a safe space in your house with a lock and a key. Even just locking the glove box is an option.”
Family members of the boy said his death is heartbreaking, but they’re glad to have each other to lean on.
“Our family is tight and we’re going to make it through this together,” said Johnson. “Together.”
GPD is withholding the release of the child’s name at this time.
The incident remained under investigation Thursday night.