UPDATE: Young brothers accidentally shot by same bullet now recovering

Published: Nov. 13, 2018 at 7:33 PM EST
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UPDATE 11/14/18 @ 6:40 p.m.

Two young brothers were hit by a single bullet. Incredibly, they both lived to tell the tale -- one that's a warning for all parents.

It happened around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in Lawrence County, Kentucky.

Investigators tell us the kids weren't playing with the gun and may not have even realized it was there.

Their pastor, Daniel Castle, said it's a miracle they're ready to come home 24 hours later.

“They're very, very lucky and blessed," he said.

It’s perhaps the biggest understatement ever for brothers Ethan Martin, 11, and Mason Fife, 4, and more likely for the rest of their lives too.

One bullet went through Mason’s leg and came to rest inside Ethan's body.

"You'll probably never hear about that again," said Castle.

Castle is the pastor of Unity Baptist Church and also the town constable. When he heard the address on Ramey Branch Road, he knew exactly who it was thanks to picking the boys up consistently for church.

"Distraught honestly,” he said. “Sick to your stomach to think kids are involved in any type of shooting."

But when he arrived, the boys were calm, not crying, and even giving a thumbs up.

Investigators said their mother brought out the .22 caliber target pistol earlier in the day and left it on the bed. The boys were roughhousing later and didn't realize the gun was there, accidentally causing it to go off.

"It's an act of God," said Castle. "It's one of those things where they had protection, divine protection. You can't explain it any other way."

The family declined to be interviewed, but an uncle told us that the mother took the gun out because the family has been robbed before, and thought she heard someone prowling around.

While troopers say it's an accident, Castle, a hunter -- who was actually in a blind when he heard the call -- as well as a retired Army sergeant, disagrees.

"We like to say these things are an accident, but they're not,” he said. “This is preventable. This is not an accident. This was because a gun was left out unsecured and loaded in the house. It should not have happened."

Castle said even with a gap of seven years, the brothers are quite close. He describes Ethan as a solid kid with a good heart who takes good care of his little brother, and Mason as a wild youngster with an infectious smile who has no fear.

Now, the pastor is thankful that single bullet didn't destroy that connection.

"When you see one, you see the other. They've got a strong bond," he said.

Castle said the bullet went into Mason's leg above the knee and exited at the calf, but missed his kneecap. He's already up and walking. It nipped Ethan's lung as it traveled from his side up to his neck. Doctors say removing it would do more damage than leaving it in.

He said both boys are already tired of hospital food and ready to come home.

Meanwhile, state police said no charges have been filed, but the case is likely to be presented to a grand jury.

UPDATE 11/14/18 @ 11:11 a.m.

A 4-year-old boy and 11-year-old boy are injured after an accidental shooting in Lawrence County, Kentucky Tuesday afternoon.

It happened around 4:45 p.m. in the Ramey Branch area.

Investigators tell WSAZ the kids were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be OK. Kentucky State Police troopers could not say for sure if the children are out of the hospital yet.

All evidence points to the shooting being accidental, troopers said. Investigators say the kids were not playing with the gun, but somehow knocked it over and it accidentally went off. One bullet hit both boys.

The gun was a 22 caliber target pistol. Troopers say the gun was originally put away, but the boys' mom took the gun out of storage for some reason Tuesday then did not return it. No charges have been filed against the mom, but the case could be presented to a grand jury.


Two young children were shot late Tuesday afternoon in the Ramey Branch area, according to the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency.

It happened around 4:45 p.m.

Lawrence County EMA reports that both kids were stable and taken by ambulance to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Details about how the shooting happened are unavailable at this time.

Kentucky State Police, the Blaine Volunteer Fire Department, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, the Louisa Fire Department and NetCare Ambulance were among agencies at the scene.