Local news reports
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office officials said Tuesday that the death of the 7-year-old boy in Burnt Chimney is being treated as an accidental shooting. The investigation, according to Capt. Mark Torbert, is focused on determining how the boys got their hands on the weapons.
Torbert said the brothers had gone to visit a neighbor. As the investigation stands, it appears the boys obtained guns, and both were handling them inside the neighbor’s home when the 12-year-old fired a .45-caliber handgun. The bullet struck the 7-year-old, and the neighbor, the only adult in the house, called 911.
Deputies arrived at 11:47 a.m., the sheriff’s office has said, and found the boy dead. Lt. Phillip Young said the boy was killed instantly.
No charges have been filed in the incident as of yet, and a search warrant related to the shooting is sealed, but Torbert said investigators have zeroed in on the “circumstances leading up to the children having access to firearms.”
The shooting, Torbert said, is a wake-up call to anyone storing guns near children.
“We need to begin the conversation in our community about gun safety,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with guns. Adults just need to ensure that children don’t have access to firearms.”
At the most basic level, he said, gun locks should be obtained for any weapon. They are readily available, and several groups — including the sheriff’s office — will supply them for free.
Other precautions are also advisable, Torbert said, like storing guns in a location children cannot reach.
And at an appropriate age, he said, parents should talk to children about gun safety and what to do if they encounter a gun or are handling one.