Two-year-old Arizona boy critical after shooting himself in face with father's handgun
Handgun lying on side (Shutterstock)

A 2-year-old Arizona boy was in critical but stable condition on Friday after he shot himself in the face with his father's handgun, which he apparently found wrapped up in sheets on the man's bed, police said.

The firearm "was rolled up like a pillow," in the master bedroom where the child was playing while his grandmother watched television and his aunt washed dishes, according to police.

The boy fired one round that struck him in the face and exited through his head, said Sergeant Shari Howard, a Peoria Police Department spokeswoman.

"All I can say is that he is very lucky to be alive right now," said Howard, adding that part of the child's skull was removed to alleviate swelling caused by the bullet.

The toddler was taken by ambulance to a local children's hospital late on Thursday, near his home west of Phoenix. Detectives said his 7-year-old brother was also inside the home, and that the father was at work.

In a frantic 911 call released by police on Friday, the aunt told an emergency dispatcher she was in the kitchen when the weapon discharged.

"My baby nephew got shot in the face with a gun," she said.

Howard said the family is cooperating in the investigation into the incident and that no criminal charges are pending.