WICHITA, Kansas (KSN) -- A 5-year-old boy spent the night breathing through a respirator and remains in critical condition after he was shot in the forehead by his 4-year-old cousin with an air rifle.
"It actually struck the left side of his forehead and made penetration past the skull," said Lt. Doug Nolte. "There was enough force."
Police say, at first, a family in the 2300 block of E. Winchester on Wichita's south side wasn't cooperative with investigators.
Detectives say they eventually determined the victim's 27-year-old uncle left the air rifle on the kitchen table where it was found by his 4-year-old son who accidentally fired a pellet at his 5-year-old cousin.
The 27-year-old now faces charges of child endangerment and resisting arrest.
Parents of the injured boy rushed him to Via Christi on Harry shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday night. The boy was transferred to Via Christi St. Francis where he's remained in stable but critical condition.
Doctors are hopeful he may be taken off of a ventilator to breath on his own sometime on Monday.
Police say people need to treat air rifles with the same care as any other firearm.
Bill Williams used to help run the Wichita Air Rifle Association before the group disbanded.
Williams says, while small, pellets from an air rifle can be extremely dangerous. A classic "Red Rider" air rifle fires pellets at speeds of 350 feet per second. But more powerful air rifles can fire pellets at speeds of 1000 feet per second. That's the same speed bullets fly out of a .22 caliber handgun.
"Adults should keep them in closets or put away because kids are definitely very curious," said Williams.
The 27-year-old uncle of the victim remained locked up Monday. His bail has been set at $25,000 for his alleged involvement in Sunday's shooting.