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Phoenix 4-Year-Old Finds Gun, 3-Year-Old Brother Fires It

A 3-year-old Phoenix boy fired a gun on Sunday while playing with his siblings in their parents' bedroom, police say.

The kids, ages 3, 4, and 9, were playing in the bedroom when a handgun fell off the bed and onto the floor. Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes says the 4-year-old picked up the gun, but the 9-year-old knocked it out of her hand. The 3-year-old boy then picked up the gun and fired it, though no one was hit.

However, the children weren't out of harm's way.

Holmes says the kids' father, 34-year-old Tyree Young, went to the bedroom, realized what happened, and struck the 9-year-old in the face.

Police say Young hit all three children with an electrical cord. The 9-year-old was forced to remove his shirt and pants, and received "extensive bruising and open welts all over" his body, Holmes says in an e-mail.

Later on Sunday, after Young fell asleep, the 9-year-old called his grandmother to tell her what happened, and she came to their home -- near Southern Avenue and 43rd Avenue -- and took the boy to her own home.

Once Young found out the boy was at his grandmother's, police say Young and the kids' mother, 29-year-old Yvonne Orona -- who wasn't at home during the gun incident -- headed for the grandmother's house.

Police say Orona grabbed the 9-year-old by the hair and punched him in the face, then physically tried to stop the boy's grandmother from calling 9-1-1.

Authorities were called, and Young and Orona were jailed on a variety of charges.

"All three victims received medical care for their injuries and were left in the custody of the grandmother," Holmes says. "The Arizona Department of Child Safety was called and this investigation is continuing."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley