DALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A 4-month-old sustained a minor injury Thursday evening when her 2-year-old brother fired a rifle in their home near the community of Twin Lake, Muskegon County authorities say.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. at a home in the 300 block of E. Calumet Avenue, a narrow gravel road east of Fox Lake in Dalton Township.
Sheriff Dean Roesler initially told 24 Hour News 8 that a single pellet from a .410 shotgun shell struck the little girl. Later Thursday night, he corrected that information, saying it was a bullet from a .22-caliber rifle.
The sheriff said a 2-year-old boy found the loaded rifle in a closet and that he fired several rounds, one of which hit his baby sister in the arm.
She was taken to the hospital and released within three hours.
A neighbor told 24 Hour News 8 she didn’t hear any shots but rushed into the home after seeing police.
“It could have really been fatal. I mean, she’s not that old,” neighbor Pam Sprague said. “First I thought maybe she was choking on something, that’s why they called the cops or they were trying to help her. But then come to find out … she got grazed by the bullet.”
One of the shots left a hole in a front window, she said.
The children’s mother was home when the shots were fired. The sheriff said the case will be handed over the prosecutor’s office after detectives have finished investigating. Children’s Protective Services is also looking into the incident.
Authorities have seized the rifle.
Roesler reminded gun owners that having an unsecured, loaded weapon in a house with children is dangerous and he urged them to follow safety suggestions to keep loaded weapons out of the reach of children.