Cops: 7-year-old shot by stepbrother in Snellville Chipotle parking lot

A 7-year-old was shot by a 9-year-old Sunday outside a Chipotle restaurant in Snellville, marking metro Atlanta’s sixth shooting involving a child so far this year.

Snellville police said the victim was accidentally shot by his stepbrother with his stepfather’s firearm that was left unsecured in a vehicle while their mother went inside the restaurant to pick up food. The injured child was alert Sunday when taken to a hospital and was considered to be stable Monday, police said.

When police arrived at the restaurant at 1650 Scenic Highway, one of the boys was trying to run back to the vehicle and kept yelling “is he going to die,” according to the police report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One of the officers got down on one knee and calmed the boy down.

The boy initially did not want to share details about what happened, but eventually told officers he “wanted to tell the truth now.”

He told police the two of them were roughhousing in the car while their mother went inside the restaurant to pick up food, according to the report. The boys then kicked a hard object on the floorboard, which turned out to be their stepfather’s firearm that he typically kept under the driver’s seat.

Neither the father nor mother have been charged, but police said the investigation is ongoing.

At the scene of the shooting, the stepfather told police his wife and the kids usually take another vehicle when they go out, and he didn’t know she took his car, the report states.

When police located and inspected the gun, it had no magazine and no rounds in the chamber, according to the report.

“I came to the conclusion the boys must have ejected the magazine and assumed it was empty before pulling the trigger,” an investigator wrote in the report.

Workers told Channel 2 Action News the woman used a towel to stop the bleeding before paramedics arrived.

“Some kids came in and they were screaming that someone shot him,” Chipotle employee Johanna Cervantes told the news station. “You could see the visible gunshot wound coming out from his ear.”

At least five other children have been shot in Atlanta so far this year. Three have died.

On Jan. 12, a 1-year-old girl, whose name was not released, was shot in a Harwell Road home when another child found an unsecured gun and fired it, according to Atlanta police. The 1-year-old was shot once and rushed to a hospital, where she died three days later. The girl’s mother, Amaiya Dachanel Williams, 21, was charged with murder in the second degree.

On Jan. 15, Kelvice Roberson Jr., 15, was shot and killed at the Dunbar Neighborhood Center along Windsor Street, police said. A man also was shot in the incident and survived. In 2017, Roberson’s older brother, Markeith Oliver, was shot and killed while selling water bottles outside a southwest Atlanta gas station.

Then on Jan. 19, a 5-year-old was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between two drivers in the 1800 block of Campbellton Road when a bullet grazed the child’s back. The child, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital and survived. Deontea Anderson, 28, and Paul Hinds Jr., 24, were arrested in that case.

Less than a week later on Jan. 24, 6-month-old Grayson Matthew Fleming-Gray was shot while riding in a vehicle near the Food Mart corner store on Anderson Avenue. Two people — Dequasie Johnathan Little and Sharice Ingram, both 22 — have been charged in the killing.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.