5-year-old boy in Missouri fatally shoots his baby brother

Five-year-old boy shoots and kills baby brother

A 9-month-old boy died Monday after he was shot in the head by his 5-year-old brother in their grandfather's Missouri home, police said.

The 5-year-old found his grandfather's .22-caliber revolver in the bedroom and was playing with it and ended up shooting his brother, Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White said. The baby was in a playpen in the same room and the bullet struck him in the head. 

The children's mother, Alexis Wiederholt, told NBC News that she had just put her 9-month-old son down for a nap when she heard a strange "pop" come from the bedroom.

When she went to investigate, her 5-year-old son appeared and said, "I'm sorry, Mom. I shot Corbin." When Wiederholt checked on her youngest son, she found him bleeding.

Wiederholt called the police just before 9 a.m. and her son was flown to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where he later died.

Wiederholt and her children were staying at her father's home in Elmo, Mo., so she could report for the National Guard. Wiederholt, a resident of North Dakota, told NBC News she hadn't known that her father kept a loaded pistol in the home.

"I don't know why someone would have a loaded gun in the house while the kids were around," she said.

Wiederholt's father told NBC News he had the gun for security and target practice and that he kept it in a locked case, but the case could be opened with a screwdriver or random key.

Firearms are common in the rural area, White said.

"Firearms are great, it's when people start leaving them loaded and unattended that things like this happen," White said.

Police are investigating the incident, but it appears that the shooting was accidental, according to a sheriff's press release.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


1:50 p.m.  Updated with details from the mother's interview with NBC News.

8:35 a.m.: This story has been updated with the mother's name and details about the investigation

This story was originally published at 8:29 a.m.