The shooting happened just after 1 p.m. at a home on Lawson’s Bottom Road, according to a news release from the state police.
The 2-year-old was taken to Cumberland County Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. An autopsy has been scheduled for Wednesday.
Cumberland County Coroner Gary White identified the girl as Caroline Sparks.
He said the children’s mother was at home when the shooting occurred, and the gun was a gift the boy received last year.
“It’s a Crickett,” he said. “It’s a little rifle for a kid. …The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun.”
White said the gun was kept in a corner, and the family did not realize a shell had been left in it.
He said the shooting will be ruled accidental.
“Just one of those crazy accidents,” White said.
The news today is that this shooting death “might lead to criminal charges.” Per NPR:
The Lexington Herald-Leader writes that “Kentucky State Police said Wednesday it is too early to say whether charges will be filed in the case of a 5-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister.”
That was a shift from earlier in the day, when a spokesman for the state police had said it was unlikely any charges would be filed.
“There is still some information that we don’t fully understand,” Trooper Billy Gregory later said, according to the newspaper. “As the investigation continues and when we finish, I’m sure we’ll present the totality of the circumstances to the commonwealth’s attorney and then he’ll make a decision whether or not to present to the grand jury.”
Just what type of charges might be filed is not known at this time.
How Did A Small Child Get A Gun?
Mark Follman at Mother Jones has the details:
The Pennsylvania-based maker of Crickett rifles, Keystone Sporting Arms, markets its guns with the slogan “My First Rifle.” They are available with different barrel and stock designs, including some made in hot pink to appeal to young girls.
Business has boomed since the company’s inception in 1996, according to its website. In its first year, it had four employees and produced 4,000 rifles for kids; by 2008 it had greatly expanded its operations, with 70 employees and an output of 60,000 rifles a year. KSA’s site states that its goal is “to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve.”
“Clearly the issue of parental responsibility is at the center of this tragedy,” writes Follman, “But … it also points back to the big business of guns — including how the industry profits from products aimed at children.”
There are no Kentucky laws prohibiting children from possessing or using long-barrel guns.
A commercial for the gun on Personal Security Zone’s YouTube channel sells the Crickett as “the perfect way to give young or small-framed shooters started right.” They say it’s cheap, affordable and “girls and even mom will love the way they can pick one to their own taste,” referring to the range of bright colours available.