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Sheriff: 11-year-old hospitalized after self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head

Sheriff: 11-year-old hospitalized after self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- An 11-year-old boy from Rutherford County is in the hospital after suffering an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

It happened just before 9:30 p.m. on Monday at a home just outside the Rutherfordton city limits.

Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis told News 13 the child allegedly shot himself in the head with a small-caliber handgun.

He was quickly airlifted to Mission Hospital, where he underwent surgery overnight.

Authorities say the child was moved from the neuro unit at Mission to the pediatric ICU, where he is considered in critical, but stable, condition.

It's unclear how he got hold of the gun.

"You hate to use this as an example because it's such a tragedy, but it's always an important message that if you're going to have a firearm -- especially a loaded firearm in the house -- they need to be secure," Francis said.

He added that he didn't expect charges to be filed, but said the district attorney will ultimately decide whether charges will be filed or if this case is prosecutable.

Authorities say the child's parents and a sibling were home when the shooting happened.

The incident is still under investigation.

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