UPDATE (June 23, 2020): The boy is still hospitalized but is healing and recovering with "no major negative effects at this time," per Utah County Sheriff's Office.
Original story (June 16, 2020):
EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — A 6-year-old boy was critically injured in a BB gun accident in Eagle Mountain Monday evening.
The Utah County Sheriff's Office responded to the area near 3300 Short Road around 7 p.m. Two brothers, ages 6 and 12, were playing with the BB gun and it discharged.
The 12-year-old aimed at the the back of his brothers head then pulled the trigger, thinking the BB gun was empty.
“He thought it was empty when apparently it was not,” said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. “It was a direct shot, not an intentional direct shot. We believe it was accidental, but more of a direct shot and apparently penetrated the skin on his head and he very quickly went down."
The 6-year-old was in critical condition when he was flown by helicopter to the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Cannon noted that the BB gun involved in the incident was a pump style BB gun — a style that tends to exert more force.
“If you pumped it 15 or 20 or more times, it may come out at the same speed that you may in say, a .22 rifle,” Cannon said.
The BB gun that hit the six-year-old was pumped 20 times.
Firearm experts say the same danger and safety rules apply when operating a BB gun as they do with any firearm.
“We never point the pellet gun or the firearm at something you're not willing to destroy," said James Story, owner of Rain 6 Firearm Retailing and Training.
"Do you keep it pointed in a safe direction? When do you point it at a target? Where's your finger placed before you're shooting? And when does your finger go onto the trigger?" Story said.
"I think it's an eye opener and awakens us hopefully to the risk that they can present," Cannon said.
The 6-year-old is still in critical condition at Primary Children's Hospital.