Thinking the gun was a toy, the younger boy shot his brother in the chest

By Harriet Sokmensuer
May 14, 2020 11:18 AM
gun death

A 5-year-old Georgia boy accidentally shot his 12-year-old brother to death after finding an abandoned gun he thought was a toy.

On Saturday evening, the younger child was playing with his 12-year-old brother, as well as other children, when he found a gun in a wooded area behind a Griffin home, according to CB46, News 11 and WGN9. Thinking it was a toy, he shot his brother in the chest. The older boy was taken to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

“The little one found a gun...Turns around, thinks he’s playing, says ‘bang bang.’ It was loaded and killed him. Think about that mother," neighbor Tom Whitehead said, WGN9 reports. "The next day, Mother’s Day, and one boy is dead by the hand of his younger brother.”

The boys were visiting from Sharpsburg to see relatives. The other children told investigators they were playing when they heard a "pop."

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Earlier that day, police had been looking for three men who fled their vehicle when officers attempted a traffic stop in the area. The men ran "behind houses, in close proximity to where this shooting occurred," police said, WGN9 reports.

When officers searched where they men had fled, they found a bag believed to contain MDMA -- but no weapons.

Now police are searching for whoever abandoned the firearm.

Both the gun and 12-year-old's clothing are being tested for gunshot residue and "to determine further who has possessed and touched the weapon," police said, according to WGN9.

“We will leave no stone unturned as we search for the individuals responsible for the abandonment of this weapon,” police chief Mike Yates said, the station reports.

Police did not return PEOPLE's request for comments on Wednesday.