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Child, 9, arrested for fatally shooting man in the head

Utah has no law requiring gun owners to buy a locking device when they purchase a weapon
Utah has no law requiring gun owners to buy a locking device when they purchase a weapon - AP

A nine-year old child has been arrested for fatally shooting a family member in the head.

Police were called to a home in Tooele, Utah – 35 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, after being told a 32-year-old man was unconscious and bleeding from his head.

The man was rushed to hospital, where he died of his injuries, Cpl Colbey Bentley of Tooele City Police Department said.

Police have declined to disclose the relationship between the dead man and the child, or further details surrounding the shooting.

“The impact felt not just by the family but the community in general — this is something that’s such an outlier,” Mr Bentley said.

“We’re trying to figure out how to cope with it, and how to properly investigate it.”

One other person was understood to be in the house at the time.

Police also declined to say whether the incident was being investigated as a homicide, although inquiries are continuing.

In Utah the criminal age of responsibility is 14.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Unintentional injury is a leading cause of death among US children and adolescents aged 0–17 years and firearms are a leading method.

About half of the incidents take place in the home.

Last November a four year old girl in Florida was critically injured after being accidentally shot in the head by her sibling, whose age was not disclosed.

And in January 2023 a six year old child was arrested for shooting and wounding an elementary school teacher in Virginia.

It was unclear how the child got hold of the gun.

In June last year a study in the scientific journal, Injury Epidemiology found that 90 per cent of accidental shooting deaths of children under 15 involved unsecured loaded guns.

In the US 26 states and Washington DC have child access prevention and Safe Storage laws.

Utah, however, is not one of them, according to Giffords Law Center to prevent gun violence.

The state does require adults to make “reasonable efforts” to remove a firearm from a child, but has no law requiring gun owners to buy a locking device when they purchase a weapon.