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Colorado girl, three, shot by 5-year-old boy wielding handgun

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A 3-year-old Colorado girl was shot and critically wounded by a 5-year-old boy on Monday with a handgun belonging to her mother's boyfriend, police said.

Pueblo police said in a statement that a 9-year-old boy was playing with a handgun in the backyard of a home in the morning when he gave the firearm to the 5-year-old, who pointed it at the girl and fired, striking her once.

The bullet entered and exited the toddler's body without breaking any bones, police said. She was airlifted to a Colorado Springs hospital where she was listed in critical but stable condition after having surgery, they added.

"When the 9-year-old was asked how he was able to manipulate the handgun, he said he learned it from video games like Black Ops," police said.

The two boys who handled the gun will not face charges, because of their age, police said, but they would investigate how the older boy got the weapon.

The girl's mother, whom police had not identified, was present at the home when the shooting took place. Her boyfriend, Adrian Chavez, 22, who was also at the home, fled the scene and was apprehended five hours later, police said.

"Chavez will be charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury for the gun that was left unattended," police said, adding that he had an outstanding, no-bond warrant for failure to appear in court in an unrelated case.

(Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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