NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police say a 13-year-old is facing charges after a “preventable incident” left his friend injured over the weekend.
Norfolk police said in a news release Monday the 13-year-old is charged with possession of a firearm by a juvenile and reckless handling of a gun in connection to an incident that happened in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 15.
Police said the two were playing with a loaded gun inside a home in the 1000 block of Pelham Street when the gun was accidentally fired. Officers were called to the scene around 3:40 a.m.
Responding officers found the 13-year-old’s friend, who is also 13, suffering from a gunshot wound.
The boy was taken to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters for treatment and is expected to be OK, police said on Saturday. No other injuries were reported.
Investigators are looking into how the boys were able to get access to the gun in the first place.
“I am thankful this young boy is going to survive,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. “However, I would be remised if I didn’t stress the importance of questioning how these young boys were able to get their hands on a gun.”
Earlier this month, Boone addressed the increasing youth gun violence in the area and how he hopes the community can help end it.
“So how are these guns getting into the hands of our youth? Simply put, irresponsible gun owners. As you know, our youth cannot legally purchase a handgun so they’re getting them from homes, unlocked vehicles, and other illegal means. Properly securing your firearm reduces the chances a juvenile will use a gun to make a split-second decision that changes everyone’s life,” says Boone.
Neighbor and retired police officer Harold Peek tells 10 On Your Side he also believes it was a preventable accident.
“You have to be responsible. A gun is not a toy. A gun is a dangerous instrument,” said Peek. “It can be used for protection, but the purpose of a gun is to kill.”
Peek thinks things like this keep happening because there is a lack of fear. “If they don’t have the fear of that weapon or the fear of their parents being mad because they touch that weapon, they’re going to touch the weapon and then you’re going to have a bad situation,” he said.
Peek also tells 10 On Your Side that kids he believes kids are getting the wrong messages in today’s society. “Because of a lot of the games that you have on computers, because of a lot of the things day-to-day that they hear from their friends and they hear, they see on television, the gun is no longer, it’s not scary to them,” he said.