A seven-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his three-year-old sister with a loaded and allegedly unsecured shotgun found in the family’s home.

Police said the boy fired the weapon while the siblings were playing in their house on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, on Tuesday morning.

The girl was rushed to a trauma centre by firefighters but her injuries were too severe to survive.

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Their mother was arrested and has been charged with child abuse resulting in death.

“The investigation is in the preliminary stages, but it appears that two siblings were playing when the older sibling found an unsecured and loaded shotgun,” police said in a statement.

“While playing, the older brother tragically shot his three-year-old sister. Their mother, Michaela Dawn Harman and another younger sibling were at the home when the accident happened.”

Ms Harman, 25, was charged with the felony offence and taken to Jefferson County jail, while the children were placed in the temporary care of human services.

“Tragic examples like this remind us of the importance to separate guns and ammunition kept in the home and to secure firearms in a locked safe or utilise other childproof safety devices,” police said.

“Parents have a responsibility to keep children from being able to access firearms, even inside the home. “

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