A single bullet to the chest killed the 2-year-old Kentucky girl shot by her 5-year-old brother clutching a “My First Rifle” — a tragic accident that could lead to charges.
Kristian Sparks shot his sister, Caroline, with a .22-caliber rifle around 1 p.m. Tuesday inside the family’s mobile home in rural Burkesville, Cumberland County. Their mother, Stephanie Sparks, was outside on the porch pouring grease out of a frying pan when she heard the gun go off, Kentucky State Police said.
A trooper didn’t initially anticipate charges being filed in the case, but said Wednesday that could change, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
“I think there is still some information that we don’t fully understand,” said Trooper Billy Gregory, adding that a grand jury could have the final say.
An autopsy on the tiny toddler was scheduled for Wednesday, with a memorial visitation set for Friday and a funeral service to be held Saturday.
Cumberland County resident Jeff Booher, 53, said learning how to use a gun is a rite of passage for many children who live in this area of southern Kentucky near the Tennessee border.
He taught his three children — ages 9, 12 and 22 — how to handle a gun when they were 4 or 5.
“People learn how to shoot before they learn how to read,” he told the Daily News.
Booher, who runs a tire shop, said he knows the Sparks family and described Caroline as a “little angel.”
Since guns are such a major part of life in the area, it’s rare that someone would be accidentally killed by a firearm.
“I think people will be a lot more careful after what happened,” Booher said.
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