Three-year-old girl fatally shoots sister, four, with unsecured firearm in Texas

'This is very preventable': Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the four-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene

A three-year-old girl has fatally shot her four-year-old sister in a Texas home after finding a loaded gun, police said.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the incident happened at around 8pm on Sunday when the girls were in the bedroom of an apartment in Houston, where they lived with their parents.

Five adults, who were all family members or family friends, were in other parts of the apartment and the girls unintentionally were left unsupervised.

“The three-year-old gained access to a loaded, semi-automatic pistol," Mr Gonzalez said.

"Family members heard a single gunshot. They ran into the room and found the small toddler, four years old, unresponsive."

The girl was pronounced dead at the scene after police responded to a 911 call by the family.

“It just seems like another tragic story of, again, a child gaining access to a firearm and hurting someone else and this time there was a fatal shot,” Mr Gonzalez added.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office will decide whether any of the adults will face charges based on the police investigation, which is still in the preliminary phase.

“Our hearts are broken. Our deputies are pretty shaken up,” said the sheriff, noting that support personnel would be at the scene to assist the officers and family members.

“The community is impacted when a child loses their life in this way."

“We continue to send the message that this is very preventable,” Mr Gonzalez added.

“You've got to be sure you're being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place. It's got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons. You know, we've got to do a little more. We see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”

Recently a six-year old boy shot his teacher in Virginia using his mother's gun.

After being shot through the hand and chest, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner later recovered.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.