Pueblo police say a child handcuffed a 3-year-old girl before she was shot and critically injured.
Court documents indicate two boys found a revolver in a backpack lying on the floor of the victim's mother's bedroom. One of the boys handcuffed two 3-year-old girls together in the backyard before the incident.
On Monday, police say a 5-year-old boy shot the girl, with whom he is related. The gun belonged to Adrian Michael Chavez, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by KRDO NewsChannel 13. Chavez is dating the mother of the victim.
Chavez told police he was sleeping when the shooting happened. He told officers he applied pressure to the girl's wound and tried to comfort her but he "panicked" and fled.
The documents say Chavez, who was wanted in another case, hid the gun under the house after the shooting and ran away. Detectives say he was remorseful and emotional when they interviewed him, saying he didn't know the children would find the gun and that he had told them not to touch it.
Police say the two children, ages 5 and 9, who handled the gun "exhibited very little emotion and came across to be desensitized" to the shooting.
There were four live rounds still in the gun.
The shooting happened Monday around 10:15 a.m. in the 3200 block of Colfax Avenue. Neighbor Matthew Hernandez told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that he contacted the Department of Social Services last week, after reportedly seeing the children digging through trash cans for food and heard screams from the home.
"I certainly understand that the system can be frustrating, anytime that you enter into a system and you really don't understand how it works or you don't see what's happening behind it," said Tim Hart, director of the department of Pueblo County Social Services.
Hart said it can take several days for a case worker to respond, depending on the risks involved.
"A lot of times on these cases it really is neighbors who have concerns who make the phone calls that keep kids alive and protect kids," he said.
Police last reported the 3-year-old girl is in critical but stable condition at Memorial Hospital.
Chavez is in the Pueblo County Jail in lieu of a $200,000 bond. He was wanted on an outstanding warrant for violating his probation.