Moments after two children were playing with toy guns, one of the children picked up a real rifle in a western Alaska home and fatally shot the other child, authorities said.
Alaska State Troopers were notified by both tribal and local police Sunday of the child’s death in Mountain Village, the statewide law enforcement agency said.
Troopers responded and found “two children were playing with Nerf guns when one of them picked up a rifle and shot the other one,” the troopers said in an online statement.
Village health aides declared the child dead, and the body will be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.
The child got the rifle inside the home where the shooting occurred, and an adult was inside the home at the time, troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel told the Anchorage Daily News.
No criminal charges have been filed, and McDaniel said the investigation is ongoing. The Anchorage newspaper reported it’s rare for a gun owner in Alaska to be prosecuted when someone is killed or injured when a child obtains the weapon.
Few details about the children involved, including names and ages, will be released “due to the size of the community that this tragic event occurred and our requirement to protect juvenile information,” McDaniel said.
Mountain Village, a Yup’ik community of 600 people who practice a traditional subsistence lifestyle, is located about 470 miles (756 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage.