March 12, 2012 -- The 7-year-old daughter of a police officer died Sunday after being accidentally shot by her younger brother in Stanwood, Wash.
The shooting occurred Saturday, when the siblings were alone in their parked family van and the boy found a loaded gun in the glove compartment, police said. The gun discharged as the boy was handling it.
The children were alone in the car but their parents were nearby, police said.
The girl, the oldest of four children, was rushed to a nearby hospital before being taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she died early Sunday morning.
The Snohomish County Sheriff's office assumed the investigation of the case after a request by the Stanwood Police Department. The officer's name and his position at Marysville Police Department have yet to be released. It is also unclear whether the gun was the officer's duty firearm or his personal gun.
"At this time we are all extremely concerned for the well-being of one of our department family members," Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
In Marysville, grieving residents expressed shock after learning the news.
"It makes me want to cry." Teena Allen, a local resident, said. "I can't even imagine, as a mom. It's a terrible accident."
Resident Val Roth left a bouquet of flowers outside the Marysville Police Department headquarters Sunday.
"Your mind goes to the little boy and then the mom and then the dad and just the whole circumstance of it and how sad it is," Roth said.
The girl's name and cause of death will be released by Snohomish County Medical Examiner after an examination of the body later today. The boy's age and name have yet to be released.
Police said it was too early in the investigation to anticipate whether any charges would be filed in the case. Unlike other states, Washington has no law that includes criminal penalties for adults who allow children to get their hands on guns.
This story was supplemented by Associated Press reports.