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Mother shoots her 4-year-old child twice while attempting to clean gun, police say

The woman initially told officers someone shot the child after trying to snatch her purse, according to the Detroit Police Department.

A Detroit woman who claimed a robber shot her 4-year-old child later confessed that she accidentally pulled the trigger while cleaning her gun, authorities said. 

The shooting took place Friday around 3 p.m. in the 6500 block of Brush Street, according to Detroit police.

The mother initially told officers someone opened fire outside an apartment after unsuccessfully trying to snatch her purse, hitting the child twice. The victim was in critical condition at a hospital, officials said Friday. The child's status was unknown Monday.

However, Police Chief James E. White admitted during a press conference that there was conflicting information from the mother and the hospital where the child was taken. 

“The puzzle isn’t coming together the way it should," he said. "We got a call from the hospital indicating that we had a crime scene here. The crime scene is on the inside of the home, not on the outside, which is inconsistent with the initial information that we have."

In an update later in the evening, police said: “The child’s mother now admits to accidentally shooting the 4-year-old. The investigation continues."

The mother said she shot the child in the arm and the leg, according to NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit. She was taken into custody Friday before midnight, the news station reported. 

Nearly 500 people die each year due to unintentional firearm injuries, according to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. In 2019, 486 Americans died from unintentional firearm injuries.

The organization says safe storage of firearms can help lower the risk of unintentional firearm injury. 

The incident comes after two other shootings involving parents and children.

In Ohio, a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot by her father who thought she was an intruder breaking into their home, according to Columbus authorities. In North Carolina, a police officer shot his 15-year-old son in the head in what appeared to be an accident, officials said. The son was hospitalized in critical condition.