A 5-year-old Hoquiam boy got a gun from his home Sunday and nearly shot a 21-year-old Aberdeen man walking outside, the Hoquiam Police Department said.
The man told police he was walking in the 700 block of L Street in Hoquiam when he noticed several small boys playing with toy guns in a yard. As he walked by, he saw another boy with what he thought was a squirt gun in the 600 block of L Street.
"The victim watched the boy point the gun at the other children before the boy pointed it at the victim, who was now about half a block away. The boy discharged the gun once in the direction of the victim, at which point the victim realized the pistol was a real gun," Chief Jeff Myers said.
The boy dropped the gun and ran into a nearby home.
Hoquiam officers made contact at the residence and discovered the boy had acquired the pistol from his home. The boy’s parents cooperated with the investigation and turned over a .38 special revolver, loaded except for one spent round.
Officers searched the area but were unable to find where the bullet the boy fired landed.
Detectives are interviewing the family today to determine how the boy got the gun. Myers said the parents may face charges depending on how the child got the gun. There is no law in Washington specifically requiring firearms be locked up.
"It is very clear this was a situation within inches of being tragic," Myers said. "It is a good reminder to secure firearms at all times from the hands of children."