published Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Girl, 10, critical after BB accident

A 10-year-old girl is in critical condition after a BB gun fired, hit her in the left eye and lodged inside her brain, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said Friday.

The girl and her 9-year-old cousin were doing homework in the dining room of her great-aunt’s house off state Highway 341 in Chickamauga when family members heard a shot, the sheriff said.

“There are some conflicting statements about how the gun discharged,” he said. “(But) we believe it was accidental.”

The BB gun was kept in a closet in the dining room, and the children somehow got hold of the weapon, Wilson said.

When police arrived the girl, whose name was not released but who is from Fort Oglethorpe, was rushed to Erlanger hospital. She was listed in critical condition in the children’s intensive care unit there Friday afternoon, the sheriff said.

No one was at the home Friday afternoon, and a neighbor said the family was at the hospital.

While Erlanger hospital doesn’t see many severe cases of BB gun wounds, children usually are the ones who suffer from such shootings, said Cindy Jackson, with the Safe and Sound program at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital.

“I’ve seen a couple of really bad head injuries from BB guns,” she said. “It’s the kids younger than 15 years old that are having these injuries.”

While the sheriff said he’s heard of injuries this severe from BB guns, he hasn’t investigated one.

“I think every little boy has heard his momma or grandma say you can get your eye put out from a BB gun,” he said.

Jackson, who also coordinates Safe Kids of Greater Chattanooga, said the organization urges parents to keep pellet and BB guns stored with other firearms in locked cabinets.

“They should never be thought of as toys,” she said.

Wilson said the investigation is ongoing and investigators still have to interview the 9-year-old boy.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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xsiveporsche said...

My heart goes out to the family and the little girl. May she have a full and speedy recovery.

August 28, 2010 at 10:48 a.m.
librul said...

When Steve Wilson's interview aired on TV Friday he referred to a pellet gun. All the press articles and much of the TV coverage refer to a BB gun. There is a world of difference between them. A pellet is much heavier and a pellet gun fires with greater force than a BB gun. Both can "put out an eye" but a BB will generally injure while a pellet can kill.

August 28, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
NoMyth said...

This is a clear case of criminal negligence. The owner of the gun should be charged with negligent endangerment of a child. It is time for the rest of society to stop paying the consequences of bad parenting.

August 28, 2010 at 3:24 p.m.
dt4c said...

if only everyone could be as perfect as you NoMyth! Then accidents wouldn't happen and we could live in a risk free world. Stupid comment.

August 28, 2010 at 4:40 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

Good point, librul, but most pellet guns also fire BB's. Both stories could be true in a technical sense.

August 28, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.
NoMyth said...

Earth to dt4c: providing 9-year old children with access to loaded guns is not an accident, it is negligence. Please study the law before you excuse away criminal behavior.

August 28, 2010 at 5:16 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

I have agree with NoMyth. Accidents are the result of lack of planning.

August 28, 2010 at 6:12 p.m.

just as basic grammatical and syntactical mistakes are the result of a lack of education, right, SeaSmokie?

August 28, 2010 at 7:47 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

Actually Mr.Chatt, that too is correct.

August 28, 2010 at 8:08 p.m.
sj10 said...

To all of you who think it wasn't just an accident,I would like to tell you that the little boys family does read little cousin is going through a very hard time and none of you know was a complete should really watch what you say and give other people consideration.

August 28, 2010 at 10:57 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

My sympathies go out the child and the family. If my or any other comments her have caused them any grief I do apologize. As an EMT I see these cases (or similar) day after day and it gets me very emotional. This child will impacted for life because of an 'accident' that didn't need to happen. Check any of my previous post relating to firearms and I always says "use a gun-lock every time". I'm sorry this happened and with planning it should not happen again.

August 29, 2010 at 1:06 a.m.
JessicaWaters23 said...

First off, Those of you who wish to by like NoMyth and believe the individual who owns the gun should be charged with negligent endangerment of a child need to stop commenting on this website and go find better things to do with your time rather than sitting here and bashing a family who is in a time of grief. Apparently it is you who have the real issues here and wish for all of the attention to be on you and taking all of the attention off the little girl who is actually the victim here. This has nothing to do with you at all, and you need to first off go chisel some of that ice that is packed around your heart and see if you could actually find it in your chest somewhere. Secondly, I don't appreciate you getting up on some sort of soap box acting as if there has never been a time when you had mistakenly done something that could have potentially harm a child or a grandchild. If you think there has never been a time when you were putting your child or grandchild in danger, think again. Anytime you are driving down the road, they are in just as much danger as this little girl was. Anyone could hit your car on the side where your child is sitting and just harm them and not harm you. Maybe you should actually think about things before just blurting them out of your mouth. I hope that nothing like this ever happens to you or anyone in your family. But I would like to think that you would not want someone to talk about you in this way as you have talked about my family. Guns are not bad things. They are something that does need to be handled properly and trained on, but mistakes happen and always will unless you live in a perfect world like NoMyth. You do not know any of us, nor will you probably ever. But no one appreciates they way you have acted on this blog and would appreciate no further comments or you if all you have to say are negative things.

August 29, 2010 at 1:08 p.m.
sj10 said...

I completely agree with Jessica.Yes the attention should be on prayers for the little girl not trying to bash a 9 year old for something that was an accident that he will also have to live with for the rest of his life.

August 29, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.

Well Jessica you seem to be defending the act of shooting children and then making excuses for everyone else. First of all, I do not call it an accident when you point a gun in someones face and pull the trigger. Let's be truthful here. It is not like he has never had a gun in his hands and knows what they do. NoMyth is totally right and someone should be held accountable.Your comparison of putting a child in the car and being in a crash is totally ridiculous.Now if you put your child in a car and do not use a seat belt, that would be negligence. If you were in a crash you would be held accountable. If noone is held accountable for what happened to Megan. Then when do you start??? After another shooting. I also know the families and know Megan has been unconcious since she was shot. Maybe you should first go and chisel the ice off your heart and see if it is still there.

September 4, 2010 at 1:45 p.m.
georgia1244 said...

Wow, Jessica, you sound like one ignorant individual.

I'm pretty sure me driving around in my car is not the same as TEACHING A 9 YEAR OLD HOW TO USE A GUN AND THEN LEAVING IT AROUND THE HOUSE IN REACH OF HIM.

Maybe if I teach a 9 year old how to drive my car and leave the keys laying around but I actually have more sense than that.

I feel for the little boy. He doesn't really understand the value of life. The parents are the ones who should be held accountable in this case. Maybe this will stop other parents from TEACHING YOUNG KIDS HOW TO USE A GUN!! because that is by far one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard.

September 4, 2010 at 2:22 p.m.
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