Monday, March 12, 2012
7-year-old daughter of police officer dies after being accidentally shot by her sibling
A Marysville (Washington State) police officer's 7-year-old daughter, who was wounded Saturday afternoon when her sibling fired a gun that was inside their parents' van, died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle early Sunday, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said.
"At this time we are all extremely concerned for the well-being of one of our department family members," Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
The shooting happened inside the vehicle near Stanwood City Hall, in the 10200 block of Highway 532. The children's parents were nearby when the gun went off, the Sheriff's Office had said earlier.
The Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the shooting at the request of Stanwood police, said Sunday morning that its investigation is continuing and that no further information would be released until early this week.
Neither the officer's identity nor any details about his career with the department were immediately released. It wasn't clear if the weapon involved in the shooting had been issued by the department.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner will be responsible for releasing the victim's identity and the cause and manner of her death, the Sheriff's Office said.
After the shooting, the girl was taken first to a nearby hospital and then to Harborview.
The shooting was the second involving young children in Washington state in less than three weeks.
A 9-year-old boy took a loaded handgun from the home of his mother, who has a history of crime and drug use, and took it to his school in Bremerton in his backpack Feb. 22. The gun discharged when he slammed the bag down on a desk, and the bullet severely injured an 8-year-old girl, Amina Kocer-Bowman. She remains in serious condition at Harborview, and doctors expect her injuries will forever alter her life.
Unlike dozens of other states, Washington has no law that provides for criminal penalties for adults who allow children to obtain guns.
State lawmakers considered a measure in the session that ended Friday which would have required additional testing of gun locks and safes before the equipment is distributed to law-enforcement officers for home use.
The bill was spurred by the 2010 death of the 3-year-old son of a Clark County sheriff's deputy after the toddler got ahold of a gun from a department-issued safe, which the family insisted was faulty.
The deputy, Ed Owens, was placed on administrative leave after the accident and fired in November after an internal-affairs investigation found he had improperly stored the gun and wrongly blamed his 11-year-old stepdaughter for the death.