A 5-year-old girl died in Louisiana on Saturday after she apparently shot herself with a handgun, authorities said.
St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff’s deputies were called to the home in LaPlace at around 9:44 a.m. and the child’s father said she shot herself while playing with the gun, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
"The father said he was taking a shower when he heard a gunshot," sheriff's Lt. Greg Baker told NBC affiliate WDSU in New Orleans. "He got out of the shower, and that's when he discovered that his daughter had accidentally shot herself."
The girl was rushed to a hospital but died of her injuries. Detectives said the gun was unsecured, the sheriff’s office said.
The girl's sister and brother ran out of the home after the shooting, and neighbor Joy Ursin took them inside as police arrived. "The oldest kid, she repeatedly said, 'My sister shot herself,'" Ursin told the station.
"He's devastated," Ursin said of the child's father. "We've spoken to him since. He's devastated."
Detectives are investigating the shooting, the sheriff’s office said. LaPlace is a community of around 30,000 about 30 miles west of New Orleans.
Baker, the sheriff's lieutenant, told the station, "Safety, everything is safety. If you’re the owner of a weapon, buy a safe box, a gun safe. That's the way it is. Teach your kids. Teach your family about it."