5-year-old boy shoots playmate inside Chesterfield home

Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-12 18:56:45-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A five-year-old boy was expected to survive after he was shot by another five-year-old boy in Chesterfield. The children were playing with a handgun they found inside a home along the 7500 block of Bensley Park Boulevard, according to Chesterfield Police.

The owner of the gun, 28-year-old William C. Griffin of North 29th Street in Richmond, was arrested and charged with felony abuse and neglect of children.

"He was hysterical because it was his gun, but he thought it was put away," one neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said. "They were hysterical. This little kid is their world and [Griffin] is not that little boy's father, but he is."

William Griffin (PHOTO: Chesterfield Police)

William Griffin (PHOTO: Chesterfield Police)

"The investigation indicates that several adults, including the owner of the handgun, were downstairs while three five-year-old males, including the victim, were playing upstairs," a Chesterfield Police spokesman wrote in an email. "The juveniles located the handgun, which was not secured and began playing with it. As they played with the gun, the victim was shot."

The neighbor, who wished not to be identified, said she helped the child until emergency crews arrived at the home.

"He was lying on his stomach and there was a small little bullet hole in the front," she said. "I just sandwiched him with pressure, with a wet cloth, to protect the intestine and just hold pressure and hold his feet up."

She said while they waited for paramedics, the child told her he felt like he was in a movie and asked her if he was going to die.

"He's a vivacious, energetic little kid that thinks everything is a movie and nothing really bad happens," she said. "It's a tragedy. It shouldn't have happened, but accidents happen all the time. All we can do is pick up the pieces and go on.  They didn't know that it was a real gun and accidents happen. These are good people."

The child injured in the shooting lived in the home, while the other child was visiting the house, police said.

Police were called to the home at about 8:50 p.m. Sunday.

Griffin was being held at the Chesterfield County Jail.

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