By Monica Land
NEW AUGUSTA – Perry County Sheriff Jimmy Smith said the case of a 7-year-old boy who killed his 4-year-old sister when he shot her in the face is being ruled an accident.
Smith said although his office is still investigating the matter, it seems unlikely that any charges will be filed. But that will be left to a jury.
“The case is still open in the sense that we’re trying to get the final report and everything involved with it done,” Smith said. “And we have determined that it’s going to be an accidental shooting. But it will be presented to the grand jury when they meet in September.”
Smith said the incident involving the children, who remain unidentified, occurred around 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 5, at their residence on Wing Gate Cove Road.
“My understanding is that they went into a back room and they were playing in there when [the boy] located one of the guns and started playing with it. That’s when it went off.”
Smith said a single discharge from the 12-guage shotgun struck the 4-year-old in the face. She was pronounced dead at the scene by Perry County Coroner Heather Meeler.
Smith said at least one parent was home at the time of the incident and the weapon was recovered at the scene.
Smith, who is in his second term, said this is the first such tragic incident to occur in Perry County since he became sheriff. But he adds that he hopes parents and guardians alike will learn a lesson from the tragedy.
“All parents need to be aware of where their guns are at,” he said. “You need to treat every gun – whether it’s loaded or not – as a loaded gun. Keep it locked up with a gun lock or something like that so maybe we can stop this from happening again and some other family being devastated.”