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Mother Arrested, Charged After 9-Year-Old Accidentally Shot By Brother Playing With Gun In Newark

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A 9-year-old girl was seriously wounded in Newark Saturday when her 12-year-old brother shot her by accident while playing with a loaded 9mm handgun found in the home, police said.

As 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reported, police said the shooting occurred around noon at a home on Renner Avenue.

Police: Girl, 9, Accidentally Shot By Brother Playing With Gun In Newark

Police say the girl, who was shot in the chest, is in critical but stable condition.

On Saturday evening, Newark police announced they arrested and charged the children's mother, 33-year-old Catrease Thomas, with endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a weapon.

The 9mm was reported stolen out of Alabama and was unsecured in her home home, police said.

Newark police added charges are pending against a second adult, Thomas's boyfriend.

"The City, the Police Department, the residents, we are all outraged that this senseless shooting has occurred, an incident that could have easily been avoided but for the carelessness of two adults. We have a 9-year-old clinging to her life as a result of that carelessness," said Newark Police Director Eugene Venable.

"My heart goes out to the family of the children although the children's mother and her boyfriend will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Venable added.

The names of the two children were not released.

Police: Girl, 9, Accidentally Shot By Brother Playing With Gun In Newark

Reginald Moore lives in the neighborhood, and said he is no stranger to such tragedy. Several years ago, his daughter was murdered in Newark.

"I don't know what can be done about it, but some kind of way, it's got to be stopped," he said.

Several community leaders came to the scene to tell reporters that the message must get out to the community – unless one is a law enforcement officer, it is best not to have a gun in the house.

Rev. Thomas Elliot told 1010 WINS people need to keep their guns locked up and away from children.

"The sad party of the story is there was a gun in the house that was unsecure and so that's why I want to speak today, to let the people know. If you have an illegal gun, please don't keep it in your house around children. If you have a gun that's registered, keep it locked up and safe," he said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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