A 10-year-old boy in Fairmont, N.C., was shot and killed on Sunday when the shotgun that his father was cleaning accidentally discharged.
According to local authorities, 34-year-old Christopher Stanlane was sitting on a couch and wiping down the shotgun around 4 p.m., when it unexpectedly fired. Stanlane’s son, also named Christopher, was watching television in front of his father when he was struck by the fatal shot, the Fayetteville Observer reports.
Captain Anthony Thompson of the Robeson County Sheriff's Office told the Observer that the 10-year-old was pronounced dead at the Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
"He (Stanlane Sr.) said he was wiping the side of the gun down and the gun went off and shot the son in the head," Thompson told the Observer. He added that the butt of the shotgun had been resting on the floor before the incident.
Thomson added that the elder Stanlane’s wife and 8-year-old daughter were also in the house at the time of the incident, but that neither of them was injured. After the shot, Stanlane’s wife immediately called 911. Thompson did not specify whether or not Stanlane had checked to see if the gun was loaded before cleaning it.
The Associated Press reports that Stanlane has yet to be charged with any crime, and that local authorities are still investigating the situation.
According to The Robesonian, a local newspaper, the shooting marks the second time this year that a youth was killed due to the accidental firing of a shotgun. On Feb. 14, a 16-year-old boy was killed when a shotgun that he and his 14-year-old brother were handling unexpectedly discharged. The names of the boys involved in the incident were never released.