A Chilco youth was only inches away from his brother and was playfully pointing a gun at him when it accidentally discharged, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.
Anthony J. Breitkreutz, 12, earlier told investigators that he was carrying the gun down a hallway when it accidentally fired into the kitchen, hitting his brother 10 yards away. A follow-up investigation unearthed the new information.
The bullet hit Jonathan L. Breitkreutz, 9, in the lower left jaw, near the neck. Jonathan Breitkreutz remains in serious condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Anthony Breitkreutz had removed the magazine from the rifle and assumed the gun was empty. He did not know there was a live cartridge still in the chamber, Capt. Ben Wolfinger said.
That should serve as a reminder to keep firearms and ammunition locked up and out of the reach of children, the sheriff’s department said. Children and adults always should treat all weapons as if they are loaded and handle them accordingly.
After the shooting, Anthony Breitkreutz ran to his aunt’s house across the street for help. His brother was airlifted from the family home, about 15 miles north of Coeur d’Alene, to the hospital.