4-year-old fatally shoots 2-year-old cousin after grandfather leaves loaded weapon within reach: Cops

A California man is facing criminal charges after his 4-year-old grandson allegedly got his hands on a firearm and fatally shot a 2-year-old girl.

According to KTLA, 53-year-old Cesar Lopez was arrested on Friday after the incident at his home in Muscoy.

He was reportedly babysitting his grandchildren at a little after 9 a.m. when San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said authorities and emergency medical crews were dispatched to the residence.

“Preliminary investigation leads investigators to believe that a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old cousin,” a sheriff’s department statement added. “Investigation continues & updates will be provided as new information becomes available.”

Incident reports indicate the 2-year-old was shot, though her identity was not immediately confirmed. Neighbors told local reporters that the toddler was named Aliya.

She was rushed from the scene to an area hospital. Less than an hour later, hospital staff declared her dead.

Investigators say the 4-year-old shooter and 2-year-old victim were cousins and both lived in the home where the shooting occurred.

One neighbor expressed grief on behalf of the toddler’s mother.

“I know how much she loved her daughter,” Citaly Plasencia said. “It’s very sad, and I never want that to happen to anybody.”

Another neighbor called it a “terrible situation” and lamented the fact that a gun was within the children’s reach.

“The gun should have been put up in a safe place with a cabinet lock,” Bubba McBath said.

Lopez was arrested and is expected to face charges including child endangerment and possession of a firearm by a felon.

[Featured image: Instagram]