A North Carolina police officer on Monday shot his 15-year-old son in the head in what appears to have been an accident, officials said.
The shooting happened around 4:30 p.m. on Monday in Onslow County, District Attorney Ernie Lee wrote in a Facebook statement. The victim, a 15-year-old male, was left with a life-threatening injury from a single gunshot wound to the head and remained hospitalized as of Tuesday, Lee added.
The 15-year-old’s father, the alleged shooter who has not been identified, is a law enforcement officer with the city of Jacksonville, according to Lee. The Jacksonville Police Department said they are cooperating in the investigation.
“This is a tragic event and this matter remains under investigation by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office,” said Lee. “The reports, statements, and other evidence from the investigation will be provided to this office to determine what actions, if any, will be taken.”
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The officer is on administrative leave, according to NBC News, citing Jacksonville police.
The shooting came two days after a 3-year-old accidentally shot herself in the head on Christmas day in Edneyville, North Carolina. She died from her injuries on Tuesday.
Accidental gunshot deaths by children handling a gun spiked 31% during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to a year earlier, research by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety found.
Both an increase in gun sales in 2020 and children spending more time at home due to the pandemic have contributed to the startling rise, researchers said.
Contributing: Shelby Harris, Asheville Citizen Times