LLANO — A 3-year-old boy who died of a gunshot wound Tuesday was one of six children left unattended in a mobile home with a loaded rifle, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said Wednesday.
The .22-caliber rifle was accidentally fired about 2:30 p.m. by Edgar Waldo Medina's 7-year-old brother, Lt. Joe Brown said. One bullet hit Edgar in the head, and the sound of the gunshot brought Medina's father, Tomas, running inside.
Tomas Medina had just left his mobile home, near a remote stretch of Pearblossom Highway, and was in the yard while the children, all under age 10, stayed inside, Brown said.
After the shooting, Medina carried Edgar--his head wrapped in a T-shirt--to a neighbor's home, where he called paramedics, Brown said. The Medina residence, situated 100 yards from the highway, has no telephone.
Edgar was flown by helicopter to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where he died a short time later.
Brown said Medina's wife was away at the time, and there were no adults with the six children, all of whom were related. Homicide investigators are still trying to determine how the rifle was fired by the 7-year-old, Brown said.
The district attorney's office will decide whether Medina is liable for prosecution for leaving an unsecured firearm within the reach of children, Brown said.
The shooting shook even veteran homicide investigators like Brown.
"All death is tragic and so many of the deaths we see are senseless," Brown said. "A child's death is so much more.
"It's very important that firearms be secured."