Boy finds gun, kills sister, police say


September 28, 2003, 10:01 AM
Boy finds gun, kills sister, police say
Children left home alone; Brother, 7, wounded
Originally published September 28, 2003, 8:21 AM EDT

LANDOVER, Md. -- A 4-year-old boy who found a loaded gun in the house shot and killed his 5-year-old sister and seriously wounded his 7-year-old brother Saturday, police said.

The children were home alone at the time, police spokeswoman Cpl. Diane Richardson said.

"It's a terrible situation that probably could have been avoided," Richardson said.

Neighbors called police and the girl was taken to a hospital, where she died. Her 7-year-old brother was in critical condition at another hospital. Authorities said the parents were at one of the hospitals late Saturday, but it was unclear which one.

The 4-year-old boy was in police custody late Saturday, Richardson said.

"We're still trying to determine where the parents were," at the time of the shooting, she said.

Richardson said the parents could be charged for leaving small children unattended and for leaving the gun where the children could find it.

Jesus wept. How can people be so irresponsible? Besides leaving guns out, how can you leave 4, 5 and 7 year olds unattended? They're liable to get into anything!

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September 28, 2003, 10:12 AM
How can people be so irresponsible?

That was my first question. Similar tragic incident here this week. Mother and her boyfriend left her 3 children, ages 13, 11, and 4 months, alone in a hotel room.

While the mom was out performing Clinton's famous non-sex acts (presumably for crack money, according to the county prosecutor), the 11 y/o son smothered the infant with a pillow.

The worst thing: it was unintentional. Placing pillows over the baby's face had been used time and again by mother and boyfriend as an "effective" means of getting the baby to stop crying. 11 y/o just thought he was doing the right thing. Poor child. :(

I hope the mother fries.

September 28, 2003, 11:49 AM
:banghead: :cuss: :fire: :banghead: :cuss: :fire:

Point 1. Whoever Left that weapon and those Children unattended need to be Punished...severely!

Point 2. Why won't people teach their children about Guns. At 5 My kids would have known to get and adult and not touch it.

This is not just tragic...but totally unnecessary.

September 28, 2003, 12:11 PM
This should make it clear to all of you that people cant be trusted with such dangerous tools.


El Tejon
September 28, 2003, 12:29 PM
In 1973 I was 4. I knew where the guns were and I knew how to operate them.

However, I had one thing I am certain that this child did not--a father who gave a darn. He taught us how to use them and that we should respect other people's property and the lives of our fellow human beings.

When you put yourself above your children (it's all about me!) and treat your children as pets, what do you think will happen? When you raise children today as wild animals how do you think they will behave?:rolleyes:

I'll betcha these people were on the dole as well! :fire:

September 28, 2003, 01:45 PM
4-year-old Landover boy kills sister with gun
Children left home alone; Brother, 7, wounded
By Sarah Brumfield
The Associated Press
Originally published September 28, 2003, 11:27 AM EDT

LANDOVER, Md. -- A 4-year-old boy found a loaded gun in his family's house and fired it through the front door, killing his 5-year-old sister and seriously wounding another boy, authorities said.

An older sister had seen the child pick up the semi-automatic handgun in the house Saturday night and had rushed the other children outside to try to protect them, but the bullet went through the door, hitting them, said Prince George's County police spokeswoman Cpl. Diane Richardson.

The two wounded children stumbled across the street and collapsed in a neighbor's driveway, she said. Kimberly Brice was pronounced dead after arrival at a hospital.

The bullet had hit the boy, age 7, in the back and then hit Kimberly, Richardson said. The injured boy was expected to survive, she said. Police believe he is other children's half-brother.

"It's a terrible situation that probably could have been avoided," Richardson said. "It's quite obvious the gun was not secured."

She said the 4-year-old cannot be held criminally responsible, but the parents or other adults connected to the house could potentially face charges of leaving the young children unattended or leaving the gun where the children could get to it.

"We're still trying to determine where the parents were" during the shooting, Richardson said. The older sister who was with the children was 10 years old.

The mother of the three siblings went to one of the hospitals after the shooting, Richardson said. A man lives in the house as well, she said, but it wasn't clear Sunday what his relationship to the woman or the children is.

4v50 Gary
September 28, 2003, 01:53 PM
Tragic and avoidable. How does one leave kids that young without a sitter?

El Tejon
September 28, 2003, 02:00 PM
Gary, if you had to consider the kids, that may take away from your own pleasure.

Standing Wolf
September 28, 2003, 10:27 PM
The children were home alone at the time, police spokeswoman Cpl. Diane Richardson said.

Twelve and a half miles past the intersection of Dumb Road and Irresponsible Alley.

September 28, 2003, 10:47 PM
check out the Wash posts version:
Girl, 5, Killed By Child With Gun
Four Children Hit In Two Shootings

By Clarence Williams and Ovetta Wiggins

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 28, 2003; Page C01

A young child fired a semiautomatic handgun inside a home in Palmer Park last night, killing a 5-year-old girl and critically wounding a 7-year-old boy, Prince George's County police said.

In a separate incident hours earlier, a 10-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl were shot and seriously wounded outside an Oxon Hill house, police said. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening, and police said they did not know who fired the shots.

Police said two of the Palmer Park children were standing inside the front door of their rambler in the 2300 block of Tuemmler Avenue when a boy police believe to be 4 or 5 years old fired at them. The wounded children were able to run across the street, where a neighbor called police about 8:30 p.m.

Police did not know how many shots the boy fired, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman. "It was a fully loaded semiautomatic handgun," she said. It was unclear whether the children were home alone or how they were related, she said.

"We're still trying to determine how the child found the gun," Richardson said. "He pulled the trigger, and as a result of that, two kids were shot."

The girl was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said. The wounded boy was flown to Children's Hospital, where he was undergoing surgery late last night and was listed in critical condition.

Richardson said the boy who fired the shots was with police while the children's parents were at the hospitals. Investigators were trying to determine whether one parent was a security guard who may have carried a gun.

Ted Hatcher, a 34-year resident of the neighborhood, said he was standing outside his home smoking a cigar when police drove up. Hatcher said he saw the older boy lying on his stomach on an ambulance stretcher, apparently conscious. "The girl wasn't moving," he said.

Hatcher said the wounded children were siblings who attended Matthew Henson Elementary School with his twin 7-year-old granddaughters. He said the neighborhood can be troublesome and "it is never a dull moment over here."

"Everybody up here knows each other," Hatcher said. "Basically, everybody watches out for everybody's kids."

Near the home where the shooting took place, a man whom law enforcement officials identified as a relative of the victims broke across a police line and demanded information from the officers. "Tell me something," the man screamed at police as people tried to pull him away. "I am not going nowhere until they tell me something."

Neighbors said the area is one where children play in the streets day and night in the midst of rowdy behavior and the sound of occasional gunfire.

Larry Lawson moved to the street from Texas in January and said he doesn't allow his three children to play outside his yard unsupervised. "This doesn't make me nervous, but this is like the second major incident in six months," Lawson said. "I had no idea what kind of neighborhood this was until I got here."

In addressing the two sets of shootings, a spokesman for Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson said that police investigations have not yielded all the details in either case.

"But this is the time when we are encouraging adults with firearms in their homes to store them properly so juveniles do not have access to them," spokesman Jim Keary said. "It is always a tragedy . . . when a child is injured or killed by gunfire."

In the earlier shooting, police said, officers were called to the 1900 block of Jarvis Avenue about 1:30 p.m. after a resident dialed 911 to report gunfire. Police said that when they arrived, they found blood on the ground at the front of the house, near the street.

Neighbors said someone in a van had scooped up the children and driven away. The children were taken to Greater Southeast Hospital in the District and later transported to Children's Hospital.

Cpl. Joe Merkel, a county police spokesman, said the boy was struck in the leg, the girl in the hip. Police did not release their names.

"Both are expected to survive, thankfully," Merkel said.

Neighbors said the children are siblings and are inseparable.

"You see one, you see the other," said Ruth Carrington, who lives a block from where the shooting occurred.

Merkel said investigators were interviewing witnesses.

A teenager who was at the house was taken in for questioning.

"We don't know her relationship to the children," Merkel said of the teenager. "She was pretty emotional and uncooperative, and that's why they got her out of there."

Police said it was unclear who the intended target of the gunfire may have been.

A 13-year-old girl was shot and killed in the same block in November 2001. Gloria Shamira Courtney was shot to death a day after being threatened by several teenage boys because she refused to give in to their sexual advances, friends and neighbors said at the time.

"They sit outside in their cars and smoke drugs," Robin Anderson, who lives in the 1800 block of Jarvis Avenue, said yesterday.

"I don't even let my kids up there," Anderson said.

"What happened today is not nothing new. I just hope they do something about it."

Staff writers Tim Craig and Simone Weichselbaum contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

September 28, 2003, 11:14 PM
That's just sad. :(

September 29, 2003, 01:00 AM
The Washington Post put this article right next to an article about how the citizens of PG County are living in constant fear of criminals and how there is nothing they can do about it. This is just to keep people from thinking that a gun could help their situation. It was almost comical the extremes people went to to keep criminals out of their places of business. They must have spent thousands of dollars each on high tech door locks and bulletproof booths. That story wouldn't exist if those people had firearms.
Sorry to get off track. This story about the childrens death is truly horrific. I hope those responsible are punished severely.

September 29, 2003, 10:54 AM
Funny thing

Maryland has a law on the books that makes it a crime to allow a child access to an unsupervised gun

the Post made no mention of this fact

(b) Prohibited acts. Except as provided in
this section, an individual may not store or leave
a loaded firearm in any location where the indi-vidual
knew or should have known that an unsu-pervised
minor would gain access to the firearm.
(c) Applicability. This section does not apply
(1) A minor's access to a firearm is supervised
by a person 18 years old or older;
(2) A minor's access to a firearm was
obtained as a result of an unlawful entry;
(3) A firearm is in the possession or control of
a law enforcement officer while the officer is en-gaged
in official duties; or
(4) A minor has a certificate of firearm and
hunter safety as set forth in § 10-301.1 of the
Natural Resources Article.
(d) Effect of violation.
(1) A violation of this section may not:
(i) Be considered evidence of negligence;
(ii) Be considered evidence of contributory
(iii) Limit liability of a party or an insurer; or
(iv) Diminish recovery for damages arising out
of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a
firearm or ammunition.
(2) A party, witness, or counsel may not make
reference to a violation of this section during a
trial of a civil action that involves property dam-age,
personal injury, or death.
(e) Penalty. Any person who violates this sec-tion
is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon convic-tion
shall be fined not more than $1,000.

David Park
September 29, 2003, 01:24 PM
There's an updated Washington Post article with more details. This one does mention that it's "against the law to leave a child younger than 13 in charge of younger children" (the 10-year-old sister was supposedly babysitting), but still no mention of safe storage laws.

Henry Bowman
September 29, 2003, 05:29 PM
"It's a terrible situation that probably could have been avoided," Richardson said.
Probably ???!!! :banghead:

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