HOUSTON, March 2 (UPI) -- Two children are dead and one is critically injured in the Houston area in three separate shootings over the span of four days.
In all three shootings, children under the age of 6 years old pulled the trigger.
The latest incident happened Monday morning when a 5-year-old boy shot his 6-year-old brother once in the abdomen in northeast Harris County. The boy was shot with a 9 mm pistol and was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition.
"I have no idea how he got it, where it was at. We have a safe in here, so I have no idea if it was in the safe or if we were walking around with it, set it down somewhere. No idea," the victim's uncle, Thomas Gray, told KPRC-TV, Houston.
On Saturday, a 4-year-old Codrick Mantrell McCall Jr. died after he found a loaded handgun and shot himself in Houston. The boy's father, Codrick McCall Sr., told KPRC his son was under the care of a temporary guardian at the time of the incident.
On Friday, a 3-year-old boy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in northwest Harris County. The boy died after being transported by medical helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital.
The boy was in one room with a young sibling while their mother was in another room at the time of the shooting.
"I think parents need to be more cautious and take care of what they need to take care of instead of leaving that dangerous stuff out for kids to get ahold of. They need to take more precautions and put that stuff away in a safe place," said Don'Ja Helms, a neighbor of the 6-year-old boy who was shot Monday.
In an article last year in the Journal of Pediatrics, doctors at the Yale and Boston University medical schools said that firearms are the second-ranking cause of death for children and teenagers in the United States. They determined that in 2009 an average of 20 children and teens a day were hospitalized because of gun injuries.
Frances Burns contributed to this story.