HOPEWELL, Va. - A three-year-old child accidentally shot his twin brother using a gun left unattended in their home, according to Hopewell Police Chief John Koehane. The shooting happened in the Thomas Rolfe Court community about 10 a.m. Monday morning.
The child, who was shot in the backside, was taken to John Randolph Medical Center by a police officer who arrived on scene. The child has since been taken to VCU Medical Center for treatment. The young boy remains in critical but stable condition at VCU Medical Center, after a .25 caliber bullet went through his bottom and into his abdomen.
The other little boy was taken from the scene by an adult before police arrived. Police are still looking for the weapon used in the shooting.
A maze of crime tape surrounded the playground at the housing project in Hopewell off 8th Street where the boy and his family live. Police collected and bagged evidence Monday, impounded a car and recovered two guns.
And they tried to piece together what had happened. What the child shot on the playground? Or in an apartment?
"In the hood you hear one story but the real story isn't out yet," said Joe Marsh, who lives in the housing project.
Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane says several conflicting stories emerged in the immediate aftermath of the toddler’s shooting. But he said there was one thing that was certain. "There was a child that got his hands on a firearm and used it," said Keohane.
Police say a three-year-old playing with a gun accidentally shot his twin brother. The boy who pulled the trigger also had injuries. "We are not sure if the action of the .25 caught him on the hand as it recycled the round," said Keohane.
A spent .25 shell casing was found inside the apartment and police say that eliminated the playground as a crime scene. Keohane said that put the focus squarely on the apartment unit. "We recovered other evidence there and you can expect more charges," he said.
The mother of the twins didn't wait for paramedics and rushed her wounded toddler to nearby John Randolph. Police say her boyfriend then dropped the other three-year-old at another girlfriend’s house. A woman inside that house at Fourth and Poythress Streets said she had never seen that boy before.
"He was taking a potential witness. Even though they're only three, it's potentially obstruction of justice,” said CBS-6 legal analyst Todd Stone. “You have a lot of issues at play."
Police say the main issue is a shooting that could've been prevented with proper storage of the weapon, noting the shooting that almost cost a young boy his life.
"It’s matter of inches and this whole thing could've changed,” said Keohane. “It's disturbing."
Police say felony child neglect and obstruction of justice are two of the charges potentially on the table for the mom and boyfriend. They also tell us Child Protective Services is involved in this case.