A 21-year-old woman was arrested in St. Paul's Dayton's Bluff neighborhood Tuesday evening after a child apparently found a gun in her purse and shot a 4-year-old girl in the leg.

The girl was taken to Regions Hospital with a nonlife threatening gunshot wound to her left leg, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a police spokesman.

The incident occurred about 6:38 p.m. in an apartment in the 700 block of 3rd St. E. A woman who answered the door at the building Wednesday morning said the girl was OK, and declined further comment.

According to police: witnesses said that a 7-year-old found the gun in a woman's purse in a playroom. The older child was playing with the gun when it discharged and struck the 4-year-old.

Officers who arrived at the scene placed a tourniquet on the girl's leg to control the bleeding, and she was transported to the hospital.

The relationship between the children and the woman are unclear, Ernster said, adding that many of the details remain under investigation.

Ernster said other adults and juveniles were home at the time.

The woman was arrested for probable cause child endangerment with a firearm, negligent storage of a firearm and for possession of cocaine. She has not been charged.

Mayor Chris Coleman, City Councilmember Jane Prince and Marit Brock of Moms Demand Action issued a joint statement Wednesday afternoon about the shooting.

"Fortunately, the young girl's injuries are not life-threatening," Coleman said. "But this near-tragedy serves as a stark reminder about gun violence in our City. If you are a gun owner in St. Paul, please be smart — secure guns in your home and model responsible behavior for young people. Unintentional shootings like the one last night in Dayton's Bluff are preventable."

Prince and Brock called on parents and community members to take action in preventing similar shootings.

"As a mother, I was devastated to hear that yet another child was hurt because a kid was able to access a gun that wasn't stored responsibly," said Brock, Volunteer Leader of the Minnesota Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "As adults, we have to refuse to see these as mere accidents and instead work together to prevent them, as gun owners and non-gun owners, by practicing responsible storage and making sure our friends and neighbors who own guns know the best ways to keep them out of the hands of children."

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib