Preteen shot after cousins find loaded pistol during water fight on Pincher Creek Hutterite Colony
**UPDATE: Colony officials confirm the injured boy is nine years old. The orignal version of this story indicated the boy was 11 as that was the age initiatlly provided by the RCMP **
A nine-year-old boy has been transported to the Alberta Children’s Hospital after being accidentally shot in the upper chest by a teenager Monday morning.
According to RCMP, the nine-year-old from the Pincher Creek Hutterite Colony was playing with a 13-year-old boy with the older child found a .22-calibre pistol. No adults were present at the time.
"(Our) investigation so far has shown that a 13-year-old from the colony as well had found a .22 loaded pistol in one of the buildings in the colony there and accidentally discharged it,” explained Cpl. Jeffrey Feist of the Pincher Creek RCMP detachement. "From what we’ve determined, they found the pistol loaded and were playing with it and it went off and struck the 11-year-old."
At approximately 11:30 a.m., emergency crews responded to the Pincher Creek Hospital following the arrival of the injured child.
“We received a call through the 911 system at about 11:30 this morning that an 11-year-old child had been accidentally shot by a firearm on the Pincher Creek Hutterite colony which is about five kilometres west of Pincher Creek," said Feist. " Subsequently, instead of waiting for the ambulance, the parents of the child drove him directly to the hospital.”
The child was stabilized and transported by STARS Air Ambulance from the Pincher Creek Hospital to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
In a phone conversation with CTV Lethbridge, the head of the colony, Jeremy Gross, confirms the two boys are cousins and were having a water fight in a shop building prior to the shooting. Gross confirms the gun was not secured and had been misplaced in a drawer.
According to Gross, the bullet went through the boy and the colony is hoping he'll make a complete recovery. The teenager who fired the gun is said to be 'shook-up'.
An RCMP investigation is underway into the incident and, according to Feist, members of the colony are fully cooperating. “The investigation of the storage and the safe storage of the firearm will be investigated and determined if charges are applicable," said Feist. "The 13-year-old is not likely to face charges at this time because we do believe that it was an accidental shooting and not deliberate.”
The town of Pincher Creek is located approximately 100 kilometres west of Lethbridge and the Hutterite colony is located just northwest of the townsite.