12-year-old shot in head in Brooklyn

March 14, 2008 4:57:20 AM PDT
A 12-year-old boy is in critical condition after being shot in the head in Brooklyn Thursday. The incident happened at Howard Avenue between Bainbridge and Chauncey streets in the Bed-Stuy section.

The child was rushed to Kings County Hospital.

Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan has the story.

He is just 12 years old and clinging to life as his family holds vigil by his bedside.

The incident happened this afternoon, with five youngsters playing in the front room of an apartment at 186 Howard Avenue. An adult was home, but was in a back room. Then, police say one of the kids pulled out a handgun.

Authorities say there was no argument and no intent, but the handgun went off and hit the young boy in the temple.

There is inconsolable grief in Bedford-Stuyvesant as police try and piece together exactly how the boy ended up shot.

"There was a couple of kids up in the house, they were playing around, and one just happened to have a gun on them," community activist Anthony Herbert said. "The gun went off and shot the other one in the temple. Just an unfortunate 12-year-old."

The victim was not the child who had the gun, nor was he playing with the gun, authorities say.

The tragic shooting underscores two troubling problems in this neighborhood: too many guns and too much idle time.

"It's a shame," Herbert said. "I do support the mayor and the efforts that he's doing with gun control. But we have to do more. I think what's happened is we just have a bunch of kids who are idle. And they just need an opportunity to do things. Unfortunately, they're cooped up in the house. We need more recreation centers and stuff like that. I think that would give them an opportunity to survive a little longer."

Police say the boy who accidentally shot the victim ran when he realized what he had done. He is in custody, but it not yet determined what he will be charged with.

Family members say the boy is on a respirator. They ask for prayers.