Neighbors Say Baby Girl Was Shot and Killed by Her Brother

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(Memphis) An 18-month-old girl is dead after neighbors say her toddler brother shot her in the head.

Memphis police say the girl was shot on Sunday night around 9:30p.m. in the 1400 block of LaPaloma Circle.

Police said the girl was first transported to Methodist Central in critical condition, then transferred to LeBonheur Children's Hospital where she died Tuesday.

While there is no other official information on the death investigation, neighbors who have spoken with the family say the girl's brother, William, pulled the trigger by accident.

"He got a hold to the gun, and he was messing with it. And it went off, and he shot her," said Randy Lark, a neighbor.

Lark remembers seeing the girl's father weeping on Sunday night.

"It’s a heartbreaking thing for everybody," Lark said.

Vernita Burns said William and his sister, whom she calls "Cali," both played every day in her front yard with her granddaughter, who is about the same age.

Burns said Cali's mother was hopeful she might pull through at first. Burns visited them on Monday at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.

"They said she was brain-dead, but by her having movements, her momma thought she might come back, pull through because she said she was a strong child," Burns said.

But Burns said they pulled the plug on Tuesday, ending one life and changing so many others, especially that of the girl's brother. Burns said William is now in protective custody.

Burns said their mother felt "she’s lost both her children."

Burns said the children's parents are wonderful people. Their mother was known to have watched as the children played outside.

Neighbors said she was at work when the gun went off Sunday night, but some believe their father was home. The family also lives with a grandmother.

Police will not release any further information, including where the gun may have come from.