3-year-old loses eye after being shot with flare gun

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A 3-year-old Arkansas boy is recovering in a Memphis, Tennessee hospital after being accidentally shot with a flare gun over the weekend.

Eddie Hawkins Jr. survived the incident but lost his eye. He may have to spend the next two months in the hospital while doctors work to replace his eye with a glass one.

Police initially said they were told the boy accidentally shot himself in the eye with the flare gun. But family members told WREG it was actually his 15-year-old cousin who pulled the trigger.

“My brother, he was playing with his Nerf gun that he had just got,” Eddie’s sister Julissa Hawkins said. “And my cousin, he had a flare gun. And I guess he had forgot that he’d put the bullet in the flare gun and he shot toward his face.”

Eddie’s sisters, father and grandmother were there when it happened. 

“When my cousin shot it, they tried to stop it and it already had hit him in the eye,” said Eddie’s other sister, Sierra Hawkins. 

Both sisters say their cousin had been warned several times to put the flare gun away. But he didn’t listen.

“Why would you shoot the flare gun in the first place?” Julissa said. “Why would you have the flare gun inside the house? That don’t make sense. A flare gun is for emergencies.”

After the shooting happened, the girls say their cousin tried to cover it up so he wouldn’t get in trouble and told police Eddie shot himself.

“Accident or no accident, don’t lie about you didn’t do it. Just tell the truth,” Julissa said.

Family members say Eddie’s father is devastated and scared he’s going to lose his child.

Due to getting conflicting statements, police say they are still trying to figure out the truth of what happened. Charges are expected to be filed.

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