A 3-year-old Dayton girl was clinging to life Wednesday in Washoe Medical Center after accidentally being shot in the head by her older brother.
Amanda Marquez underwent brain surgery Tuesday night for a "through and through" bullet wound that entered the front of the child's head and exited the back, said Lyon County investigator Rob Hall.
Amanda was listed Wednesday in critical condition, according to Washoe Medical Center spokeswoman Judy Davis.
Initially, the girl's father and brother reported she was struck by an unknown assailant who fired on the toddler as she played in her front yard at 128 Fortune Drive in Dayton.
"We just weren't finding any evidence outside to support that theory," Hall said. Once officers began to press the father and son about the events surrounding the shooting, they eventually admitted the shooting was accidental, Hall said.
"It's our understanding the boy didn't think the gun was loaded. He said he was playing with it in the house, it discharged and the sister was in the line of fire."
Hall said the father, Raymond Marquez, was in the home at the time of the shooting.
"He knew what happened, but was trying to basically protect his son from getting in trouble."
Officers located the bullet inside the home and were directed to the gun by the father.
A search for a shooter supposedly in a tan Oldsmobile was called off two hours after it started.
Hall said he is not sure if any charges will be filed. The case will be forwarded to the Lyon County District Attorney's Office for review.
The Marquez family could not be reached for comment. Hall declined to give the name of the brother involved in the shooting.