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2 Boys Shot Playing With Gun at Home

Times Staff Writer

Two 4-year-old boys were shot and seriously wounded in a Sepulveda apartment Thursday when a gun one of them had found and was playing with accidentally fired and struck them both, Los Angeles police said.

Police said Jeremiah Cagle and Joshua Smith were injured about 3 p.m. in a bedroom of Jeremiah’s home in the Orion Gardens apartment complex in the 8700 block of Orion Avenue. Joshua’s family also lives in the complex.

Airlifted to Hospital

Both boys were airlifted to Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, where they underwent surgery for gunshot wounds, officials said. Jeremiah was listed in critical condition and Joshua was in serious but stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit, officials said.

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Lt. Harvie Eubank said there were two adults and two teen-agers in the apartment in which the boys were playing. But the boys went into a bedroom alone, and while they were playing, Jeremiah found a .22-caliber handgun that had been placed between two mattresses, Eubank said.

“He took it out and was playing and turned it around so it was facing him, and it went off,” Eubank said. “It was an accident.”

The bullet hit Jeremiah in the upper chest and throat area and went out his back, Eubank said. The bullet then struck Joshua, who was standing behind his playmate, in the abdomen, Eubank said.

Eubank said police had not been able to determine who owned the gun because several people live in the apartment. He said at least three people use the bedroom where the gun was found by the boys.

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Eubank said the shooting was ruled accidental. He said that it was unlikely any criminal investigation for child endangerment would be made because the boys were not alone in the home and it is legal for a person to keep a gun in their home.

The parents of the boys could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Staff writer Philipp Gollner contributed to this report.


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