Two incidents involving children and firearms, one fatal, occurred this last week in New Jersey and Tennessee
In Toms River, New Jersey, a 6-year old child was wounded by a bullet shot by a 4-year old-old child. Authorities stated that the 4-year old brought a gun from inside his home outside, where he somehow shot and wounded his slightly older neighbor while they were playing together.
The rifle used in the incident was a .22-caliber rifle that was stored inside the house. Details regarding the use of a gun cabinet or lock system are unknown or undisclosed at time of printing.
The accident occurred around 6:40 p.m., Monday evening, The gun discharged and a bullet struck the 6-year old, who was standing approximately 15 yards away from the 4-year old, according to Joseph Coronato, Ocean County Prosecutor.
The younger child’s mother was present or nearby and reported the shooting to 911.
The 6-year old child was transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital in serious condition with a bullet would to the head. No further details regarding his condition or prognosis have been provided by the authorities.
The 4-year old was not injured by the incident.
According to Coronato, it is “too early” to assign blame or announce if any charges will be filed. He would not provide additional or specific information about the shooting, including who owned the firearm and how the child was able to obtain such easy access to the weapon.
The incident occurred on a quiet, residential street, and has affected the entire community.
“I’m sad for the children involved and their families, but I’m angry with whoever owns that gun and allowed a little child to get a hold of it. A 4-year-old can’t load a gun,” added Debi Coto, who lived nearby and knew both children and their families. “I had just been telling my sister how nice it is to see kids playing together and enjoying themselves, and then this happens,” she said.
This shocking incident came just on the heels of another more serious firearm incident in Tennessee, where another 4-year old child picked up a loaded firearm at a family get-together. The child reportedly shot and killed a nearby woman, the wife of the gun owner, a sheriff’s deputy.
According to the authorities, Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning had laid out his firearms to show to a relative on his bed at his personal home. The 4-year old walked in, retrieved a loaded gun off the bed, which then discharged and struck Josephine Fanning, 48-year old wife of Deputy Fanning. Mrs. Fanning died at the scene of the incident due to the gunshot.
Such events are terrifying for parents, especially when considered after December’s school massacre in Connecticut. Firearms possess a great danger to the lives of children everywhere, and incidents like this draw additional attention to the risks of firearms.
Although not always the case, a defective firearm can lead to a shooting similar to these, due to damaged component parts, defective design, pump, lever, bolt, or trigger defects, or safety malfunctions. If an injury occurred involving your child and a firearm, a defective weapon may be to blame. Contact experienced defective firearm and child injury attorney Jeffrey Killino to discuss your options and determine if you are entitled to any financial compensation for your hardship.