- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - A 4-year-old boy who shot himself in the head has died, becoming the third Houston-area child killed or injured by accidental gunfire since the start of the year.

Bryson Hernandez accidentally shot himself in the head Tuesday with a gun he found while visiting his grandparents. He died Thursday.

In a statement, his family said they hoped Bryson’s death will spur people with guns in their homes to take more precautions.

“Always check to make sure you know where your guns are and that they are safely out of reach of children, not loaded and locked away,” they said.

Child Protective Services is investigating how Bryson got the gun. His grandparents are “cooperating with investigators fully,” said the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Those findings will be forwarded to a Harris County grand jury.

Adults can be prosecuted for making a firearm accessible to a child, a misdemeanor charge.

Bryson is just the latest area child to be accidentally shot this year.

On Jan. 3, a 2-year-old boy in Montgomery County injured himself after he grabbed a handgun that his father had put down while cleaning the weapon. A 15-year-old died Jan. 16 after his stepbrother accidentally shot him in their Houston home.

According to data from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, 1,074 minors died in the county - where Houston is located - from 2011 to 2014. About one in eight were killed by guns, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday (https://bit.ly/1PdibNd ).

That is an average of 27 child fatalities by guns every year, according to the newspaper.

Texas Department of State Health Services statistics show about a dozen minors statewide die annually due to the accidental discharge of firearms. Ten children, ages 17 and under, died in Texas in 2013, the latest year that complete data was available. In 2012, 13 died and in 2011, 10 were fatally wounded.

According to recently released data by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control coalition funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at least 265 minors in the U.S. unintentionally shot themselves or someone else in 2015 and 17 of those incidents were in Texas.

At least four children died last year in Harris County as a result of accidental shootings.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, https://www.houstonchronicle.com

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