7-year-old boy accidentally shoots father in Prescott Valley

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PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Prescott Valley police are investigating after a 7-year-old boy accidentally shot his sleeping father in the back.

It happened on Wednesday, March 7, at approximately 7:20 p.m.

The father was sleeping at his Prescott Valley home when police say he was shot in the back with a handgun by his 7-year-old autistic son.

At the time of the incident, the mother was sleeping in the living room, along with their other two sons, ages two and seven.  A 13-year-old son was in his room doing homework.

It is believed that the 7-year-old autistic boy knew the gun was in a small locked safe in a closet and he knew where the keys were kept.

Police say the boy moved a dining room chair to the closet in order to reach the safe.

He removed the gun from the safe and shot his dad, according to police.

He could not provide a reason for shooting his dad. The round went through the father’s upper chest and back, into the mattress, through the wall, skipping across the floor of the living room, and through an exterior wall. The single round fired did not damage anything or harm anyone outside of the residence.

The father was flown by Native Air to John C. Lincoln Hospital where he remains in ICU in stable condition. The incident is still under investigation.

Gun safety can never be taken for granted," said Prescott Valley police in a statement. "Even when we think we’ve secured our weapons, there is more to consider than just a weapon being locked up. The gun should also have a locking device on the gun itself. Gun locks are available at no cost to the public at the Prescott Valley Police Department front lobby."

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