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3-year-old shoots and kills 1-year-old sister with 'unsecured handgun,' authorities say

Deputies found a 3-year-old child in a Fallbrook, California, home who got hold of "an unsecured handgun" Monday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

A 3-year-old child in California shot and killed their 1-year-old sister after having gotten hold of an unsecured firearm, authorities say. 

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a shooting around 7:30 a.m. Monday at a home in Fallbrook, about 55 miles north of San Diego. 

Deputies found a 3-year-old who had gotten hold “of an unsecured handgun,” the sheriff’s department said in a news release

The family’s 1-year-old daughter suffered a head injury. She was transported to Palomar Hospital and died one hour later, authorities said. 

It's not immediately clear whether any parents were in the home at the time.

“The Sheriff’s Department extends our sympathies to the family and those affected by this death. Sheriff’s Homicide investigators are working to gather more information to determine the circumstances of the death,” the sheriff’s department said. 

There are “no outstanding suspects” and no threat to the community, officials said. 

The sheriff’s department said the district attorney’s office was notified about the shooting and will be updated with the investigation’s findings. 

The medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (858) 285-6330 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

There are hundreds of unintentional shootings by children every year in the U.S. As of July 12, there had been at least 217 unintentional shootings by children, which resulted in 76 deaths and 149 injuries in 2023, according to a count by Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit gun control group.