HOUSTON - A 4-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head in a northeast Houston apartment, police said.
The boy's parents told officers that they thought the child was sleeping in his bedroom of their apartment at the Colonial Arms at 3201 Laura Koppe Road. Around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, they heard a gun go off and ran into the room.
"The child was supposed to be asleep in the room. The parents were outside of the room in different areas of the house and heard the discharge, heard what they thought was a gunshot, and entered the room and found the child inside with the injury," said Brian Evans with the Houston Police Department.
Police said the boy shot himself in the face. He was rushed to Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and was listed in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.
The boy's father, Jose Luis Nunez, said he was shaken to the core knowing the fact that he left his loaded handgun in a nightstand resulted in his son accidentally shooting himself.
"I was careless for one minute. I was careless. That is what happened," Nunez said.
Investigators said the boy found the gun and then turned it toward himself, and the weapon accidentally discharged.
The victim's 2-year-old sibling, who was sleeping in the room when the gun went off, was not hurt.
Police questioned Nunez about how the boy got the gun. The Harris County District Attorney's Office will determine if charges, such as failing to properly secure a weapon, should be filed.
"It is under investigation. They have not determined ... they took me, but released me. It is still being investigated," Nunez said.
KPRC Local 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said the parents could be charged with making a weapon available to a child, a class-A misdemeanor.
"While people are permitted to have guns in the home, they are responsible when their children stumble upon them," Wice said.
Wice said the law says police may not arrest parents until at least seven days after the incident to allow them time to grieve.
"That is to provide comfort to parents," Wice said.
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