Woman arrested after child finds gun in purse, shoots 4-year-old in leg

A 21-year-old woman has been arrested after a seven-year-old child allegedly found a gun in her purse and shot a four-year-old girl in the leg in St. Paul, Minnesota Tuesday night.

Officers were dispatched to the 700 block of 3rd Street in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood on a report of an accidental shooting. When they arrived, they found a four-year-old girl suffering from a gunshot wound to her leg. Officers placed a tourniquet on the child’s leg to control the bleeding.

Witnesses told police a seven-year-old found the gun in a purse that was left in a playroom. The child began playing with it and shot the four-year-old in the leg.

The 21-year-old was arrested for child endangerment with a firearm, negligent storage of a firearm and possession of cocaine.

The four-year-old girl was taken to Regions Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In light of the incident, Mayor Chris Coleman is asking gun owners in the city to secure their guns in their home and “model responsible behavior for young people.”

“Unintentional shootings like the one last night in Dayton’s Bluff are preventable,” Coleman said in a statement.

“The recent incident that involved a four year old being shot by a seven year old sibling in Saint Paul along with other similar incidents across the nation are easily avoided if adults simply secure their firearms with a gunlock and store them in places where they are not accessible to young children,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “These preventable tragedies are not accidents and are all too common throughout or Nation and in our community. That is why we launched a campaign to distribute free gun locks last summer at our community centers and libraries throughout Ramsey County with this simple message: safe gun storage, saves lives.”

Marit Brock, the leader of the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, says there have been more than 150 unintentional shootings by children in the United States this year, including two shootings in Minnesota.

“As adults we have to refuse to see these as mere accidents and instead work together to prevent them, as gun owners and non-gun owners, by practicing responsible storage and making sure our friends and neighbors who own guns know the best ways to keep them out of the hands of children,” Brock said in a statement.

The incident remains under investigation.