TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A 2-year-old girl is in critical but stable condition after deputies say she was shot by her 3-year-old brother late Friday night in Lakeland.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the young girl was shot one time in her upper left chest area and is at Lakeland Regional Health receiving treatment for the severe injuries endured to her internal organs.
Deputies say 23-year-old Kevonte’ Wilson and 23-year-old Rodderick Haynes told detectives they were watching a basketball game on TV when the 3-year-old boy found a handgun, pointed it at the 2-year-old girl, and shot her with it.
Wilson and Haynes said that they all got into a car to rush the girl to the hospital but got into a crash on the way.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says Lakeland police responded to the crash, located at the intersection of Olive Street and Oregon Avenue, around 12:15 a.m. Saturday. A Good Samaritan in the area took the child and 24-year-old Chad Berrien to the hospital.
Deputies say the girl’s mother went to the hospital and said that the two children were supposed to be at her home, which is in the area of South Wabash Avenue and Ariana Street in Lakeland.
During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Judd said that deputies determined the gun belonged to Wilson through the course of their investigation.
“It can’t be stressed enough, if you have firearms in your home, keep them away from children,” the sheriff said. “A beautiful little girl is fighting for her life right now because another child who didn’t know any better was able to get his hands on a loaded gun.”
Berrien was arrested on four outstanding warrants (failure to appear for battery, failure to appear for resisting without violence, failure to appear for driving while license cancelled, suspended or revoked, and failure to appear for driving on revoked/suspended license).
Wilson was also arrested for carrying a concealed firearm and failure to safely store a firearm. His prior criminal history includes charges of grand theft, written threats to kill, defrauding an innkeeper, and driving with no valid license.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate the shooting. The Lakeland Police Department will investigate the crash.
Both investigations are ongoing and additional charges are possible.