LORAIN — An 11-year-old Lorain boy was in serious condition Wednesday at a Cleveland hospital, a day after his older brother shot him in the neck with a pellet gun, police and hospital officials said.
Police did not charge the boy’s brother, 14, because it appeared to be an accident, Lorain police detectives said.
Police were called to CHP Regional Medical Center in Lorain around 7 p.m. Tuesday after hospital staff said the 11-year-old boy was brought into the emergency room by his parents, a Lorain police report said.
The boy’s parents told police that he and his brother, 14, were using a pellet rifle to shoot soda cans behind their Kenyon Avenue home in west Lorain, the report said.
The father, 36, said he told the boys to clean up the yard and go inside for the night, while he returned to the house, the report said.
Minutes later, the two brothers came running inside the house, the younger brother holding his neck and saying he’d just been shot.
The older brother told his father he was trying to activate the gun’s safety mechanism when it accidentally discharged and struck his brother, the report said.
The younger brother was flown from the Lorain hospital to Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center on Tuesday, where he was still in serious condition late Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Police interviewed the boy’s older brother on Tuesday, who “appeared to be very upset” about the incident, the report said.
Police confiscated the pellet rifle, though the report didn’t specify which type it was — a pump-action air rifle or a CO2 rifle with cartridges. The boy’s parents couldn’t be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Lorain police detectives were surprised to learn Wednesday that the child was still in serious condition.
But county Coroner Paul Matus said it’s not unheard of for a round from a pellet gun to inflict lethal damage.
“A pellet or BB gun can be considered a deadly weapon,” Matus said. “It has killed or maimed.”
Matus said he’s seen case studies outside Lorain County where high-velocity BBs or pellets fired from air rifles and pistols have torn through a child’s chest wall and cut the coronary artery.
Other incidents that resulted in fatalities — though not in Lorain County — included injuries to the brain after the pellet entered the skull through the eye socket, Matus said.
Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.