published Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Girl, 3, dies after shooting accident in Bradley County

A Bradley County Fire and Rescue truck is parked in front of the house at 141 Benwood Trail where a 3-year-old girl apparently shot herself in the head and later died.
A Bradley County Fire and Rescue truck is parked in front of the house at 141 Benwood Trail where a 3-year-old girl apparently shot herself in the head and later died.
Photo by Randall Higgins.
Shooting
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CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- A 3-year-old girl died Wednesday after she was shot in the head.

Investigators believe the child accidentally shot herself, said Bob Gault, spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office. She was taken to SkyRidge Medical Center in Cleveland, where she later died.

"The investigation is far from over," Gault said.

The name of the child and the family will not be released until today because the family was trying Wednesday to inform extended family members about the accident, Gault said.

The shooting took place at 141 Benwood Trail in the Benwood subdivision. Gault said Wednesday it was unclear if the girl lived at the address or was visiting. The address is the home of a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, Gault said.

The 911 Center received a call from the girl's mother at 10:33 a.m. that her daughter had been shot in her eye. Sheriff's deputies, detectives and emergency medical crews responded and found the girl with a wound near her left eye.

A .45-caliber handgun was recovered at the home, Gault said.

Three people were in the home at the time -- the small girl, a 2-year-old cousin and the girl's mother, Gault said. The mother was in a separate room when the children apparently found the gun, he said.

The second child, a boy, was not injured, he said.

Kim Grubbs lives a few houses away but said she doesn't know the victim's family very well.

She said she'd heard about the shooting while working at a vacation Bible school.

"Kids are curious and they want to look at guns," she said.

For that reason, her own family gun stays locked away from her three children, she said.

"If you have a permit, you can never let your guard down. It's sad," she said.

Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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