Four Year Old Shot by BB Gun Serves as Warning

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WALTON COUNTY A four year old Walton County boy is in critical condition tonight after his cousin accidentally shot him in the chest with a BB gun Saturday.

Apparently the teen didn't know the gun was loaded when he shot the boy standing about 6 to 8 feet away.

Officials aren't releasing the identity of the four year old boy, but we do know paramedics transferred him from Bay Medical to Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Officials say these sort of accidental shootings are more prevalent during the holiday season, when BB guns and pellet guns are given as gifts.

The one involved in this weekend's shooting of a 4 year old Freeport boy was a Daisy Roger .177 Caliber Rifle.

But C&G Sporting Goods Owner Ronnie Groom says all BB guns can be lethal.

Groom says, "that thing is dangerous. It can inflict a wound or it can seriously kill somebody, so you gotta realize this is not a toy."

With the large number of hunters here in the panhandle, it's quite common for parents to give BB guns for Christmas and birthdays.

Groom says, "Very regularly, it's always a starter gun for kids who want to hunt and so forth."

Walton Co. Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Catherine Rodriguez says, "They wanna run around and have a good time, but with that, you know, you gotta keep safety in mind. I mean especially with the younger generation, and again in this instance we dealt with a 14 year old, and it was just - it was careless, and also too maybe a lack of education."

Groom says parents need to educate their children to use a BB gun as if it is a real firearm.

Don't allow people to stand in front of you when holding a gun of any kind.

Unless you're using a BB gun for shooting, keep it unloaded and locked away.

The easiest way to unload it is to make sure no one is around you or in front of you, point it to a soft piece of ground, and fire.

And young kids always need adult supervision and goggles in case bullets ricochet.

Rodriguez adds, "With the younger children with the smaller guns, you know there are little caps that can be put at the end of the barrel so just in case they do raise the gun up and accidentally pull the trigger, nothing will come out of the gun."

Groom says most of his customers buy their kids BB guns when their about 5 years old.

That's not much older than this weekend's victim.

Walton County officials say they will not be filing any charges in this shooting.


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