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Police: Man Hid Gun After Boy, 5, Shot 3-Year-Old

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Adrian Chavez (credit: Pueblo County Sheriff's Office)

Adrian Chavez (credit: Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office)

DENVER (AP) – A 5-year-old boy who shot and critically injured a 3-year-old girl in southern Colorado found the weapon in a backpack lying on a bedroom floor, according to court documents released Wednesday.

The boy then pointed the gun at the girl and pulled the trigger, shooting her once in the chest. The girl was in critical but stable condition after the Monday shooting, but her condition wasn’t immediately clear on Wednesday.

Her mother’s boyfriend, 22-year-old Adrian Chavez, faces child abuse charges for allegedly leaving the revolver unattended at the home in Pueblo. Court records do not list his attorney, but say he remains in jail on $200,000 bond.

Chavez was inside the home sleeping when the 5-year-old and a 9-year-old boy discovered the handgun and handcuffs from a backpack in a bedroom, the documents say. They were playing with the gun in the backyard when the boy fired. Police have said the 9-year-old knew how to handle the gun from playing video games.

The children told police Chavez picked up the gun and hid it under the house after the shooting and then ran away. Detectives who interviewed him later said he was remorseful, saying he had told the children not to touch the weapon, which he kept in his backpack on a shelf in a closet, according to the documents. He said he bought the gun for protection.

The girl’s mother was also home at the time, but police have not identified her. Neighbors said they saw her screaming and holding a limp child as police arrived.

The shooting came less than a week after a 5-year-old girl in Idaho died when she was accidentally shot by another 5-year-old.

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- By Sadie Gurman, AP Writer

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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