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Police: 9-year-old shot by child who picked up loaded shotgun

Police say the man who owned the weapon said he was fishing when the incident occurred, and that he had been shooting animals prior to that.

By Fred Lambert

MERCER, Pa., April 19 (UPI) -- A child picked up a loaded shotgun that had been left unattended and shot a 9-year-old girl, Pennsylvania State Police say.

The incident occurred Saturday inside a pavilion near a pond at an Amish farm in Lackawannock Township, in Mercer County, Pa. Police say the victim's father left a loaded shotgun unattended while he fished.

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Two children under the age of 5 were playing nearby when one of them picked up the weapon and it discharged, striking the girl in the lower torso.

Neither the man or the children have been identified. The 9-year-old victim was taken away in an ambulance and airlifted to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, according to reports. Her condition is not known at the time.

Police say the man told them he had used the shotgun to shoot animals prior to fishing.

The incident comes one week after police in Cleveland said a 3-year-old boy shot a 1-year-old in the head and three months after a 5-year-old boy shot his baby brother in the head in Missouri, each with unattended, loaded handguns. Police say both occurrences appeared to be accidental and that they would pursue charges against the guns' owners.

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A 2013 report published by the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that in 2009, an estimated 20 children and adolescents were injured by firearms every day in the United States.

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