“The parents of a 9-year-old Milwaukee girl who was accidentally shot and killed by her brother were charged Tuesday with child neglect causing death,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday afternoon.

That’s the stuff of nightmares for any parent.

We hope it’s also a call to action to anyone with firearms and children in the same home.

Miyanna D. Jelks was fatally shot by her 10-year-old brother on March 10 inside their home on Milwaukee’s north side, police said.

Miyanna and her brother were home alone with four younger siblings — including a toddler — when the shooting occurred. Officers later found a red gun lock, unused, in the house.

Their parents had left the house for about 30 to 45 minutes to go shopping for clothes, according to the complaint. Both parents have been charged with child neglect causing death.

The 10-year-old brother told police he was in charge of watching his siblings and went upstairs to check on Miyanna. He saw her with a gun, took it from her and removed the magazine. As Miyanna was spinning around the room, he began waving the gun around, accidentally pulling the trigger and firing the gun, according to the criminal complaint.

Miyanna was shot once in her neck. The parents came home a short time later and rushed Miyanna to the hospital, but doctors were unable to save her. During a search of the house, police found the unused gun lock on top of a shoe box.

Instances of death or injury resulting from careless gun handling by parents in the home are senseless. They’re also all too common.

  • The parents of an 11-year-old boy who police said accidentally shot his 6-year-old sister in Bell County, Ky., on Feb. 21 have been charged, WBIR.com reported. Jennifer Collet, 29, and James
  • Collett, 30, face three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. Investigators say the children were left unattended with no adult supervision, and there were several loaded firearms that were not properly secured.
  • No charges will be filed against the parents of an 11-month-old boy killed in an accidental shooting on March 12 in Mobile, Ala., Fox10tv.com reported. According to Mobile (Ala.) Police Chief Lawrence Battiste, the toddler was accidentally shot and killed inside his home. Neighbors told Fox10tv.com that it appeared the child’s 2-year-old brother fired the shot. Battiste said the boys were left alone in their parents’ bedroom by their mother, who went to a mother-in-law suite behind the house to tell the boy’s grandmother she was leaving. Battiste said the gun
  • was a 9mm pistol owned by the parents, left out in the bedroom.
  • Officials have released the name of the 4-year-old LaGrange, Ga., girl investigators believe was accidentally shot last week, Fox5Atlanta.com reported. LaGrange Police said Joniah Knight was shot in the head in the apartment where she lived on Feb. 26. She was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in critical condition. Investigators said there were two other children, ages 7 and 2, inside the apartment and they believe one of them accidentally discharged the firearm. Police said there were weapons inside the apartment which were accessible to the children.

Do you see a pattern emerging here?

A gun in the home should be stored safely and securely until it’s needed.

Miyanna Jelks’ great-aunt, Linda Fay Smith, described her as a loving little girl, a third-grader at Emerson School, and spoke of how her family is devastated by her loss.

She also urged people who own firearms to use trigger locks. “But not only that, just put the guns away. Put the guns away,” she said.

There’s nothing you can do that will bring back Miyanna Jelks or that 11-month-old boy in Mobile.

But you can take steps today to make sure your children don’t get their hands on your guns.

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