5-year-old shot in face after dad left gun in car while cleaning, police say

RANDLEMAN, N.C. -- Authorities said a 5-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was shot in the face in a car outside a Randleman Wendy's.

The incident happened just after 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Police told WGHP the child was in a booster seat when he unbuckled himself as his mother pulled up to the drive-thru.

The boy then grabbed a .45 semi-automatic handgun from a pocket on the car's passenger seat. It went off and hit him in the face.

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The unidentified child was taken to Randolph Health and then flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Officers said the gun belonged to the boy's father, who claims he put it in the pocket while vacuuming the car two days prior.

The man said he forgot about the gun and the mother didn't know it was there.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.