A man shot his pregnant girlfriend in the abdomen in a St. Paul apartment, where small children were present, authorities said Tuesday.

Police say that 23-year-old Tabetha R. Warner, in her 13th week of pregnancy, was expected to survive and the bullet narrowly missed her unborn child.

The shooting occurred about 8:15 p.m. Sunday in the 1300 block of N. Park Street, police said.

Officers called to the home by the boyfriend "rushed in and rendered aid" to Warner until Fire Department medics took over "and whisked her to Regions" Hospital, a police statement read.

The 26-year-old man said the handgun went off after he dropped it, police said. The girlfriend also said the shooting was accidental, said police spokesman Steve Linders.

Linders also said that Warner told officers that she was standing in the kitchen, cooking dinner for her family, while her boyfriend was at the table with a 9-millimeter handgun.

"At some point, she went to pick up one of her kids, heard a loud bang and then realized she'd been shot," Linders said.

The man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault and then released Tuesday. He has yet to be charged. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.

Two children in the home, ages 4 and 1, were placed with relatives, police said.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482