Two children playing with a loaded air rifle has ended with one of them dead.
Wilson County deputies say 7-year-old Alejandro Mejia and his younger brother were playing outside their home with the rifle Friday night.
Authorities tell WITN News the air rifle in question is a Daisy Powerline 35 and can shoot both BBs or pellets. It is still not known whether BBs or pellets were in the gun.
Sergeant Wanda Samuel says the parents knew the children were playing with the gun, but they're not sure whether the parents knew if it was loaded or not.
Samuel says the 4-year-old shot his brother in the chest at close range outside the home on Jaycross Road near Fremont. His father, Jose Mejia, took him to Wilson Medial Center where he died.
The family says the child was a first grader at Stantonsburg Elementary. The say Alejandro got the gun for a Christmas gift and was out shooting cans in the yard when the accident happened.
Both parents and three other children were home at the time.
Deputies say they are classifying it as an accidental shooting. The case has been reported to the Department of Social Services, and the sheriff's office is still investigating.
The air rifle involved in this case was loaded with BBs, according to the Medical Examiner.
This air rifle's muzzle velocity is much greater than a classic BB gun.
A classic BB gun has a muzzle velocity of 350 feet per second. An air rifle like the one used has a muzzle velocity of almost twice that, at 625 feet per second.
When fully pumped (ten times), it can have the power of a handgun, according to the sheriff.