10-year-old St. Louis boy kills brother while playing with gun, police say

Map image show shooting location. (FOX TV Stations)

A 10-year-old boy fatally shot his 12-year-old brother as the two played with a gun they found inside a St. Louis home, police said.

The shooting happened Tuesday night in a north St. Louis neighborhood, KMOV-TV reported. Police said the boys were with a parent who was getting a haircut in the home when the older boy was shot in the face.

Police said the boys' 36-year-old mother was arrested Wednesday on a possible charge of endangering the welfare of a child, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

They identified the 12-year-old as LaFrance Johnson, of St. Louis.

The death follows a spate of shootings in St. Louis involving children handling guns. On Friday, two young cousins who were livestreaming from a St. Louis apartment died when one child fatally shot the other before killing herself in what family members have said was an accident.

In February, a 12-year-old girl was wounded in an accidental self-inflicted shooting.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Maj. Ryan Cousins urged residents to use gun locks.

"As an agency, we will come out and teach everyone how to use them," Cousins said. "We do understand people are going to own guns; however, to protect these children, we want to ensure these guns are secured safely."

According to a leading gun control advocacy group, Everytown for Gun Safety, in 2020, unintentional shootings by children under 18 years old in the United States left 142 people dead and 242 wounded.

In 2021, the number of deaths climbed to 154 and the number wounded rose slightly to 244. According to the group's data and St. Louis' most recent gun deaths involving children, at least 20 people have been killed and more than 30 have been wounded in such shootings so far this year.