Gunshot leaves 9-year-old Meridian girl in critical condition

Erin Kelly / The Meridian Star

Meridian Mayor Percy Bland listens while MPD Communications Officer Lt Rita Jack speaks during a news conference about a Tuesday night shooting Wednesday afternoon. The victim in the shooting, a 9-year-old girl, remained in critical care Wednesday, police said.

A 9-year-old girl shot in the head Tuesday evening at a home in Meridian remained in critical care Wednesday, police said.

The shooting happened around 6:45 p.m. at a home in the 2100 block of Ninth Avenue, according to a news release from the Meridian Police Department.

Officers found the child with a gunshot wound to the head and identified her 8-year-old brother as the shooting suspect, police said. 

The victim was first transported to a local hospital and shortly afterwards taken to Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson. 

The two children as well as a 5-year-old and 7-year-old were left alone inside the home without supervision, police said. Detectives recovered the firearm. 

MPD Lt. Rita Jack said it was likely an accidental shooting and the 8-year-old was questioned on scene with parents present. 

There have been earlier reports of children being left alone in that home, but it is not known if the reports included the children involved in Tuesday's shooting, according to Jack. 

The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services will be involved, as the case relates to the wellbeing of a child, Jack said. 

No charges had been filed as of Wednesday morning. 

“When I got the word late Tuesday night about this one, I was just devastated,” said Mayor Percy Bland at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re just praying that the young girl makes it in Jackson.”

Detectives are investigating the case and police will release more information as the investigation unfolds. The police department urged the public to secure all firearms properly with locks, especially in homes with children.

Jack said the department has free gun locks available at the front desk of MPD headquarters. 

The shooting was the second in Meridian involving children in two days.

Police said said a preliminary investigation revealed that two teen brothers were playing with a gun around 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the 2100 block of 25th Avenue.

The 15-year old victim was shot by a 16-year-old, according to MPD Capt. John Griffith.

MPD Chief Benny Dubose said he anticipated charges would be filed at a later date. 

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