9-year-old accidentally shot in Decatur dies

DECATUR, Ohio - A 9-year-old who was accidentally shot in the head in his Brown County home last week has died.

9 On Your Side reporter Scott Wegener spoke with Sebastian Swartz's family Tuesday, and they told him that Swartz was brain dead and they decided to remove him from life support.

The incident, which occurred last Monday, was the result of an accidental discharge of a handgun, Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger reported in a press release.

Swartz  found the handgun unsecured in his parents' bedroom while his father, Chris Swartz, was at work and his mother, Shanna, was in the living room of their house located at 10198 State Route 125, Wenninger said.

When Sebastian Swartz's sister, whose name and age have not yet been released, found Sebastian playing with the gun, a struggle ensued and the gun was discharged, Wenninger added.

Wenninger said in his 25 years as a law enforcement officer he's only seen seven or eight cases where a child was accidently shot while playing with a gun.

He added such incidents are totally preventable if gun owners take precautions, such as picking up gun locks that are usually given out for free by most police departments, including the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Chris Swartz is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and was injured in that conflict.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also gives the following recommendations for those who own guns and have children in their home:

  • Always keep the gun unloaded and locked up.   
  • Lock and store the bullets in a separate place.   
  • Make sure to hide the keys to the locked boxes.
The AAP offers more advice and tools at their site, healthychildren.org .

Evidence collected from the Swartz home will be turned over to the county prosecutor's office to determine whether or not a charge such as child endangerment will be filed against the family, Wenninger said.

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