Metro advocates urge gun safety after 4-year-old shot near 38th and College

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 4-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was shot just before midnight Saturday night.

Police haven't said how the shooting happened or who may be responsible. Now, community advocates are asking people to make sure their guns are stored safely.

Police say they aren't searching for a suspect in this case, but it's still unclear if the little girl found the gun herself, or if someone else shot her.

Tyrek Montgomery says he's used to seeing crime in his neighborhood, but this time it's different.

"We thought it was an older person at first, something like that, doing what they always do, causing havoc or whatever. But no, it's a little girl," Montgomery said.

A little girl that he knows, who likes to dance and play, was shot down his street on College Avenue.

"A bunch of police cars just coming and coming," Montgomery said. "Just one after another. We went outside to try to figure out what was going on."

KCPD says they got a call around 11 p.m. that night about a shooting near 38th and College Avenue. They found the young girl shot inside a home. The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, and doctors say she remains in critical condition.

Rosilyn Temple with KC Mothers in Charge says situations like this stress the importance of gun safety.

"A gun is powerful, so we must do better at keeping our children safe in our homes," Temple said. "As parents we're supposed to protect our children. We're supposed to take care of our children. So we have to stop being so careless and allowing these things to happen."

Mothers in Charge also works with Moms Demand Action, an organization focused on gun safety. Group Leader, Kara Werner, says guns should always be secure - especially around kids.

"Making sure we're keeping things locked up, we're storing ammunition separately from the weapon, and that it's not loaded," Werner said. "The effects of gun violence in unintentional shootings there are so many ripple effects for the family, for the children's friends, for their families, for our community."

Both women hope the moment it took for the gun to be fired doesn't take away this little girl's life.

"I hope that they're okay, and that they're able to have all the support and services they need to be able to heal from this," Werner said.

"I just pray for that family," Temple said. "I pray for that child. The child be able to maybe, maybe have a normal life."

Werner said each year there are around 200 unintentional shootings nationwide.

Moms Demand Action offers classes for gun safety through their website Besmartforkids.org, and if you need a lock for your gun Werner says they offer them for free, no questions asked at Children's Mercy. Also, many police departments will make them available free of charge.

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