‘Heartbreaking’: 4-year-old shot, killed after finding gun; family members arrested

The police captain in Gaston County said the child appeared to have gained access to a gun inside the home. (Source: WBTV)
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 12:35 PM PST
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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV/Gray News) - Police in North Carolina are investigating a deadly shooting where a 4-year-old child was shot and killed on Tuesday.

Gaston County police report the child died of a gunshot wound after the boy’s mother, father, and another relative living at the home failed to secure a gun properly.

Investigators said the boy and one of his siblings found the gun that day and discharged it.

According to WBTV, the three adults living inside the home were identified as 22-year-old Savannah Brehm, 22-year-old Hector Mendoza and 21-year-old Keith Strughill.

Police said the family members have been arrested and charged with felony involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse and a misdemeanor of storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.

“I heard the news and that just devastated me,” said neighbor Sierra Stevens. “And then I heard it was a 4-year-old, and I started bawling.”

Gaston County Police Department Capt. Bill Downey urged all parents to keep their weapons safe and out of the reach of children while the incident remains under investigation.

“When a child is involved it’s very gut-wrenching. It’s heartbreaking and very shocking to the system,” Downey said.