Mom shot by one of her own young children in NW Indiana


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Police in Northwest Indiana said a man is in custody after a woman was accidentally shot by her 3-year-old daughter Tuesday afternoon.

"She had no idea what she had done, and she was very scared", said Detective Sgt. James Bogner of the 3-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, her 21-year-old boyfriend was in the store, Petruch said, and the "next thing he knows somebody comes running in said, 'Your wife or girlfriend has just been shot'".

The bullet penetrated the vehicle seat and struck the 21-year-old mom in the shoulder at a Merrillville strip mall Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Hadassah Zirkle, supervisor at Plato's Closet, said several people ran outside, where someone told her someone was hurt and bleeding.

"We grabbed the little boy who was still in the auto and we took the little girl from the mom because she was holding her hand and we took them inside and just tried comforting them the best we could", Rebecca Todd, a witness, said. "We grabbed them. We brought them inside, and we just tried comforting them as best we could".

Another bystander said the father, who was inside Plato's Closet store trying on clothes, stormed outside screaming in disbelief.

Police said the Michigan City-based couple came to Merrillville to visit Planned Parenthood as Thomas was four to six weeks pregnant. Her condition is now unknown. Brazier, 21, is now being held on child endangerment charges. He also had a warrant out of Porter County for traffic violations. A 1-year-old child was also in the backseat of the vehicle in a auto seat, police said. She was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to Loyola Medical Center.

Both the children have been handed over to the Indiana Department of Child Services.

The suspect was taken into custody after the police searched the area.

"They think it's a toy, and I'm sure that's what this 3-year-old picked up", Petruch added.

Police said the shooting remains under investigation but appeared to be accidental.

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