BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — Burke County sheriff’s deputies are investigating an accidental shooting at a church involving a two-year-old boy.
The toddler, who is the son of the church’s pastor, was flown to a Charlotte hospital Sunday with life-threatening injuries.
“He is stable,” said Pastor Adam Vines. “Trusting in the Lord. God has him in his hand. God has a perfect plan. It was an accident.”
Sheriff’s deputies said the shooting happened after service let out at River Valley Baptist Church along Conley Bumgarner Road, which is west of Morganton.
Witnesses described hearing a single shot fired inside a car in the parking lot. Investigators are still working to determine exactly how it happened and whether or not the toddler accidentally fired the gun himself.
Glen Alpine Fire posted photos of the medical helicopter that landed nearby to airlift the child.
Outside the church Monday afternoon, Channel 9′s Dave Faherty we could see the shattered glass near where the shooting happened.
Several neighbors and church members told Faherty they were in disbelief over what happened. Kevin Barlow attends River Valley Baptist Church and lives next door. He could hear people screaming after the shooting and said he and his wife were up much of the night praying for the family.
“My hearts go out to them,” Barlow said. “We will help in any way we can, and God is the help that you need.”
Teresa Jordan was home when the shooting happened.
“It just breaks my heart,” she said.
She could see church members gather around the little boy in the parking lot afterward. Jordan said she has weapons in her house, but takes precautions to keep them safely away from children.
“I feel for the family. It just breaks my heart,” she said. “It shows you how quick your life can change.”
The sheriff said Monday their investigation is still ongoing. He said deputies have seized the handgun, and they plan on meeting with the district attorney to let him decide on charges.
Investigators are still trying to determine exactly how someone got access to the handgun and who fired the weapon.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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