Sheriff: 8-year-old accidentally shot in face with rifle

Grant County Sheriff's Office

An 8-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the face by his babysitter Thursday night, officials said.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded at 8 p.m. to a report of a child who was shot at a home on County Road E in Livingston.

According to a news release, a 13-year-old boy and his 8-year-old cousin were in the home alone. The teen had learned the combination to a safe, opened it and removed a Marlin .22-caliber rifle.

The teen loaded and unloaded the rifle multiple times, the Sheriff’s Office said. At one point, he discharged the rifle, falsely believing it was not loaded. There was one round in the chamber of the rifle when it was discharged.

“You need to think about putting the ammunition in a completely different spot, securing it in a completely different spot. Most people I know, secure their weapons, but they have the ammunition right on top of the safe. Let’s maybe start thinking about putting that in a completely different spot so you have to gain access to both,” said Sheriff Nate Dreckman

Dreckman also said children need to be properly trained to handle firearms and said parents should remind their children to not play with firearms.

“Whether it’s paintball, airsoft, all these toys guns that are made to look so realistic, we as a society have almost made it OK in some aspects. You really need to sit down and say, ‘this is a real firearm. If you point this at somebody and pull the trigger, they can die,'” he said.

The round struck the 8-year-old boy just below the left nostril, according to the report. The injured boy was conscious and alert when emergency medical services personnel arrived. He was taken to Southwest Health Center in Platteville and later flown to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City by Air Care.

The Sheriff’s Office said potential charges for the teenager or the owner of the gun could come in the future. Family members of the injured boy told News 3 that he underwent surgery in Iowa City and is currently in stable condition. They said he will have a long recovery ahead of him, but is expected to be OK.

A Sun Prairie man accidentally shot himself while cleaning his handgun Friday afternoon in an unrelated incident , officials said.