DALLAS, Ga. — A 6-year-old girl from Paulding County is fighting to survive after her younger brother accidentally shot her in the driveway of their home.
Deputies said the children’s mother had loaded the girl and her 4-year-old brother into her four-door silver sedan when the car wouldn’t start. Police said she got out to see what was wrong and moments later, heard a gunshot.
“The little 4-year-old brother somehow acquired the gun that was in the vehicle and accidentally shot his 6-year-old sister in the head,” said Paulding County Sheriff's Sgt. Ashley Henson. “As you can imagine, the mom was frantic.”
The little girl remains in critical condition and, at this point, no charges have been filed against the mother.
In cases like these, it is left up to law enforcement to determine whether the parents face charges if a child is shot with an unattended gun.
In 2016, 3-year-old Houston Cole shot and killed himself when he found his parents’ gun in their Paulding County home. In that case, no charges were filed. That same year, 18-month-old Noah was killed in McDonough, after police said a gun was left out. His parents, in that case, were also not charged with a crime.
An Atlanta couple, Sasiya Dixon and Gilbert Hardy, both faced several charges when their 3-year-old was accidentally shot in September of last year.
In December, Antonio Stephens was charged with reckless conduct and battery family violence when his 2-year-old son shot and killed his 6-year-old daughter.
“Sometimes, unfortunately, accidents do happen and bad things happen to good people,” Henson said.
Other factors are often considered before charges are filed – including whether or not the parent had a criminal history, which would make it illegal for them to own a gun.