'Crazy accident': US boy, 5, accidentally shoots sister dead

A five-year-old boy who was playing with a .22 calibre rifle he'd been given as a gift accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister in their Kentucky home, officials say.

The shooting happened on Tuesday in rural Cumberland county and the little girl was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, the state police said.

Cumberland County Coroner Gary White identified the girl as Caroline Starks and said the children's mother was cleaning the house at the time and had stepped outside onto the porch.

"She said no more than three minutes had went by and she actually heard the rifle go off. She ran back in and found the little girl," White told WKYT news.

The rifle had been given to the boy last year and was kept in the corner of a room. The parents didn't realise a shell had been left in it.

The rifle used in the accident is a Crickett designed for children and sold under the slogan “My First Rifle,” according to the company's website.


A section titled 'Kid's Corner' on the site features pictures of children - including infants - holding and firing guns, including a bright pink model for girls.

"It's a Crickett," White told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "It's a little rifle for a kid...The little boy's used to shooting the little gun.

"Just one of those crazy accidents."

An autopsy was set to be conducted on Wednesday, but White said he expected the shooting will be ruled accidental.

US media reports said the boy was given the weapon for his birthday.

Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer Billy Gregory said young children were introduced to guns at an early age in the area.

It's a little rifle for a kid. ...The little boy's used to shooting the little gun.

"It's just one of those nightmares - a quick thing that happens when you turn your back,'' Gregory told CNN.

"In this part of the country, it's not uncommon for a five-year-old to have a gun or for a parent to pass one down to their kid.''