Courtesy KHOU

TEXAS CITY, Texas -- The yellow tape that surrounded a building at the Harbor Oaks Apartments Thursday evening left neighbors like Ron Castillo stunned and in disbelief.

"To be honest I'm just shocked," said Castillo. "I don't have any way to explain it. But that's just something tragic."

According to Texas City Police, three small boys were left alone inside an upstairs apartment. Brothers ages nine and eight, and their 7-year-old cousin found a loaded handgun and began to play with it. That's when the 7-year-old accidentally shot the 8-year-old in the face.

The victim was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann.

Detectives were questioning the adult who was supposed to be supervising the kids and said charges were pending.

James Francis, himself the father of a small boy, couldn't understand how any parent could leave a loaded gun so close to kids.

"It's crazy," said Francis. "If you have them in your house, put them up. Keep them out of the children's way."

Child Protective Services has been called in to investigate, while parents living close to the crime scene clung a bit tighter to their own kids.