Girl, 4, shoots herself with grandmother's handgun

A 4-year-old girl shot herself in the chest Monday after snatching her grandmother's handgun from the woman's purse while riding in a shopping cart at a Sam's Club store, authorities said.

A witness, Lueen Homewood, said store workers grabbed first-aid materials off store shelves to help the grandmother as she cradled the wounded child near the store's pharmacy, The (Columbia) State newspaper reported on its Web site.

The girl was rushed to a hospital in critical condition and was recovering Monday afternoon after surgery, said police department spokesman Brick Lewis. Hospital officials would not release her condition after the operation.

Lewis said the grandmother, Donna Hutto Williamson, has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The purse containing the small-caliber handgun was in the cart near the child, Lewis said. The 47-year-old Williamson, of Salley, was not immediately charged with a crime.

Officials said the shooting, which was captured on store surveillance cameras, appeared to be accidental. Lewis said police would not release the video.

The store was closed while police investigated the shooting. It reopened Monday afternoon.