Toddler shot in head by sister with an air gun

An 18-month-old boy was left fighting for his life after his five-year-old sister shot him in the head with an air gun their father was using for target practice.

The family were in the back garden of their Birmingham home when the father, Bakht Zaman, put down the gun and turned his back for a second to answer his mobile phone.

His daughter, Asna Almas, grabbed the gun and levelled it at her brother, Rashid Rullah. The weapon went off and the pellet hit the boy in the back of the head.

Mr Zaman, a 29-year-old handyman, had just reloaded the air gun in preparation for his next shot when the phone rang, said the children's grandfather, Bakht Rammand.

The shooting, which happened at 6.40pm on Sunday, appeared to have been a "tragic accident involving young children", said Detective Inspector Simon Vowles, of West Midlands Police. Paramedics called to the family home in the city's Washwood Heath area found the child with a "very serious head injury" from an air-gun pellet, the West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed.

"Crews immediately started treating the child and very quickly took him to Birmingham Children's Hospital. Two additional paramedics travelled with the ambulance crew to provide additional assistance." Shortly after arrival he was described as "critical but stable," she said.

Mr Rammand, 48, said Rashid was still unconscious last night and seriously ill in hospital, where doctors would operate on him when he came round.

"Everybody's in shock. There are no words to describe it really. The whole road loves them," Mr Rammand said. "The children usually come down here ... and spend all day with us. At 4pm they go home. When they went home yesterday they were playing with their dad in the garden.

"He was target-practising with the gun and then somebody rang his mobile. The gun was ready to fire and he answered the phone.

"Rashid's sister is really active and she got hold of the gun and pointed it at her brother. He was on the high ground and she was on the low ground. It hit him right in the middle of the back of his head."

The boy's mother, Fazilat Zaman, 25, had spent the night at her son's bedside, he added. The family come from north-west Pakistan.

A police spokesman said: "An 18-month-old boy is in a critical condition in hospital with a serious head injury after what appears to be a tragic accident. The toddler was playing with other young children in the garden of his home in the Washwood Heath area when he sustained a pellet wound to the back of the head from an air weapon."

Liam Byrne, the Labour MP for the Hodge Hill constituency, which includes Washwood Heath, said: "As a parent of three youngsters I know that beyond doubt, this is every parent's worst nightmare ... everyone's prayers and thoughts should be with little Rashid and his family. They will be going through absolute hell.

"Thankfully, Birmingham Children's Hospital is among the best of its kind in the world. I've had leaders at the very top of the NHS tell me that if their child fell ill, there is nowhere they would rather have them looked after than Birmingham Children's.

"Their staff and [the] care will be of huge comfort to the family at this incredibly anxious time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world