California: Three-year-old picks up 'unsecured gun' and fatally shoots baby sister

Police said the one-year-old girl was taken to hospital but later died (file photo). Credit: AP

A three-year-old child in California has accidentally shot and killed their younger sister, aged one, after getting hold of a handgun, US authorities have said. 

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a shooting on Monday around 7.30am local time at a home in Fallbrook, about 55 miles north of San Diego. 

The toddler had reportedly got hold of of an "unsecured handgun", and their younger sibling, who has not been named, suffered "a head injury," the sheriff’s department said. 

The injured child was taken to a nearby hospital but died one hour later.

It was not immediately clear if any parents were in the home at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

“The Sheriff’s Department extends our sympathies to the family and those affected by this death," a statement to the press read.

"Sheriff’s Homicide investigators are working to gather more information to determine the circumstances of the death."

There are “no outstanding suspects” and no threat to the community in the shooting, officials added.

The youngster's death comes as the latest firearms-related tragedy to occur by an accidental shooting by a child in the US.

As of July 12, there have been at least 217 unintentional shootings by children, which have resulted in 76 deaths and 149 injuries so far this year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control nonprofit organisation.

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