Boy, 5, shoots 12-year-old brother to death after finding gun he thinks is a toy in the woods

A 12-year-old boy was killed when his 5-year-old brother accidentally shot him after the younger sibling thought the gun was a toy.
GRIFFIN, Georgia -- A 12-year-old boy is dead after his 5-year-old brother found a gun in the woods and accidentally shot him to death when he thought the firearm was a toy.

The incident happened on the evening of May 9 when police responded to reports of a juvenile shot in Griffin, Georgia - located just south of Atlanta. Officers responded to the scene and discovered that the young victim had sustained a gunshot wound to his chest.

Authorities immediately took the boy to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

During the course of the investigation, the Griffin County Police Department Investigation Division began to piece together exactly what happened. The shooting allegedly happened earlier that day when officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop in the area. Individuals in a vehicle ran from their car into a wooded area, where the accidental shooting occurred about two hours later.

"As (uniformed police) officers searched the area, they found a bag of suspected MDMA and recovered it where it was turned in for examination," said the Griffin Police Department in a statement released on social media. "A weapon was not found at that time. UPD Officers later made contact with the suspected driver of the fleeing vehicle who provided them with information relative to the investigation."

The 12-year-old's siblings, aged 7 and 5, were present at the time of the shooting and interviewed by authorities the next day on May 10. That is when police learned the 5-year-old had found the gun near where the suspects fled from the traffic stop the day before.

"The five-year-old (indicated) that he had found the gun in the wooded area near the location of the shooting (in proximity to where officers had earlier retrieved the suspected bag of drugs) and thinking it was a toy, accidentally discharged it striking his brother in the chest," the statement continued. "Evidence and witness accounts are consistent with this account by the five-year-old."

The investigation has now shifted away from what happened during the tragic shooting to finding the individuals suspected of abandoning the firearm and the drugs in the area of the incident.

"The Griffin Police Department continues to investigate this case and all information has not been obtained by the facts and circumstances discovered lead to a strong hypothesis, substantiated by evidence that this incident is a tragic accident," police said.

"We will leave no stone unturned as we search for the individuals responsible for the abandonment of this weapon," said Chief Mike Yates.
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