5-year-old accidentally shoots, kills his brother after finding gun in woods

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(CNN) — A young child accidentally killed his 12-year-old brother Saturday after shooting him with an abandoned gun he found in the woods behind their home, police said.

The 5-year-old told officials he found the weapon and, thinking it was a toy, accidentally shot his brother in the chest, the police department in Griffin, Georgia, said in a news release. His brother was transported to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Earlier that day, Griffin police said, officers attempted a traffic stop in the area, but three men were able to escape the vehicle and fled “behind houses in close proximity to where this shooting occurred.”

Police searched the area after the men fled and found a bag suspected to contain MDMA, but they found no weapons at the time.

“The children were out here peacefully playing in the backyard on the trampoline,” neighbor Tom Whitehead, who owns an auto body shop in front of the family’s home, told CNN affiliate WGCL.

“The little one found a gun. … Turns around, thinks he’s playing, says ‘bang bang.’ It was loaded and killed him. Think about that mother. The next day, Mother’s Day, and one boy is dead by the hand of his younger brother.”

The police department’s Criminal Investigation Division is looking for the person suspected of abandoning the gun. The weapon and the 12-year-old’s clothing will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for analysis “to determine further who has possessed and touched the weapon,” police said.

The child’s clothing will also be tested for gunshot residue.

A Griffin police spokesperson said they anticipate charges against those who discarded the gun and left it where young children were able to find it.

“We will leave no stone unturned as we search for the individuals responsible for the abandonment of this weapon,” police chief Mike Yates said in a statement.

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