Madera County sheriff's lieutenant's daughter, 8, shot by sister, 10

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police said the 10-year-old daughter of a Madera County sheriff's lieutenant shot her 8-year-old sister at a home in Northwest Fresno on Friday morning.

Fresno police got a call shortly before 8 a.m. from a frantic father saying his 10-year-old shot his 8-year-old daughter at a home in the area of Bullard and Cornelia avenues. They said the father, a lieutenant at the Madera County Sheriff's Office, had left his gun on the bed while he was getting ready for work.

Investigators said there was not an ammunition clip in the gun on the bed, but there was one bullet in the chamber. They said they do not believe the father was far away from his weapon for very long before his daughter picked up the gun and pulled the trigger.

When officers arrived, they found the 8-year-old victim with a gunshot wound to her lower torso. The girl was taken to the hospital. Police said she was awake, alert and speaking with nurses, and she is expected to be OK.

During a news conference on Friday afternoon, Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney confirmed that the child used her father's department-issued .40-caliber handgun in the shooting. His office will launch an internal investigation before deciding whether the lieutenant will be disciplined.

"Considering the circumstance of what's happened here and since he wasn't directly involved in the discharge of the firearm, no I will not be putting him on administrative leave," said Varney. "Certainly his family and he will be allowed any type of time off he needs to participate in the healing of his daughter."

Because the shooting happened in Fresno, the Fresno County District Attorney's Office will decide whether any criminal charges will be filed. Deputies said the father has been cooperative during the entire investigation.

The lieutenant, whose name has not been released, has been with the department for more than 20 years.

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