A former soldier and a 13-year-old boy died, and two other children were wounded while handling a hand grenade over the weekend in a city in the southern Dominican Republic, media reports said, citing the National Police.

Wilfredo Polanco Sanchez, a 24-year-old former soldier, was showing the grenade to several children Sunday at a house in Villa Altagracia, a city in San Cristobal province, when it exploded.

The blast killed Polanco Sanchez and Francis Paula, and it wounded Carlos Diroche Paula, 15, and Francis de la Cruz, 2.

Polanco Sanchez had told the boys that the grenade was not active, police said.

The death toll could have been even greater, but several people moved away when the former soldier started handling the weapon, eyewitnesses told police.

Investigators will try to determine how Polanco Sanchez obtained the grenade, police said. EFE