Local News

Girl, 6, Shot by Brother, 9

Posted December 17, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A 6-year-old Rocky Mount girl was in serious condition Thursday morning after being accidentally shot in the face Tuesday by her 9-year-old brother.

Investigators say three young children were alone in a Grace Street house late Tuesday afternoon when a 9-year-old boy found a pistol beneath a mattress. While he was playing with it, the gun fired and hit his 6-year old sister in her left cheek near her nose.

Police say the gun belonged to 30-year-old Melvin Powell, boyfriend of the girl's mother, 29-year-old Amica Bettis. Neither Bettis or Powell were home when the shooting happened. Powell has been charged with allowing a minor to access a gun. Police believe the little boy had no intention of hurting his sister.

"We cannot find intent of harm," said Lt. Wayne Sears of the Rocky Mount Police Department. "Curiosity, yes. A dangerous toy, a life threatening toy to be curious about."

The little girl was flown to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Her condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. Police say they may seek additional charges in the case.