A 13-year-old girl from southern Michigan is dead after being accidentally shot with a shotgun by her older brother on Saturday afternoon.
The Lansing State Journalreports that Paige McGinnis, a sixth-grader at E.E. Knight Elementary School in Ovid Township, was shot in the head by her 14-year-old brother, who will not be named for privacy purposes, in their family's Ovid home around 4:05 p.m. on Saturday.
The boy told sheriff's officials that he was home alone with Paige handling the shotgun when it accidentally discharged, killing his sister. He said he believed that the weapon was unloaded.
Clinton County Sheriff Wayne Kangas told reporters that he believes the shooting was accidental. The boy has not been taken into police custody.
Ovid-Elsie Area Schools Superintendent Ryan Cunningham told the State Journal that grief counselors were on hand at E.E. Knight Elementary to help Paige's schoolmates deal with the tragedy.
"Ovid-Elsie is so small, and when something like this happens, it affects a lot of people," Cunningham told the paper.
"[Paige] was such a delightful kid, she was one of our students of the month a couple of time," he continued. "I just think of her as a wonderful student, one of those great kids you look forward to having in the class."
Cunningham added that Paige's brother was also a good boy.
"They are the kind of kids who are not troublemakers," he said. "We're grieving with the family as a community and a district and we hope and pray for the best."
Kangas stressed the need for parents to be vigilant about gun safety.
"We always tell parents to make sure those firearms are locked up, they're unloaded, and if you can at all secure them in a safe or someplace where young people can't [get to] or touch those guns," Kangas told reporters.
McGinnis is the latest in a string of US children to die in accidental shootings. Among the recent victims:
- Tmorej Smith, 3, of Greenville, South Carolina found a pink handgun he thought was a toy and shot himself in in the head on Friday.
- Jamarcus Allen, 4, of Akron, Ohio was allegedly shot by his father while riding in a car on January 23. Terrance Allen, 48, was arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with the accident.
- Trinity Ross, 4, of Kansas City, Missouri was accidentally shot dead by her 6-year-old brother late last month.
- Navaeh Benson, 6, of Cleveland, Ohio shot herself in the face with a gun allegedly belonging to her father, who was charged in connection with the girl's January 19 death.
-William Paris, 12, of Pleasant Valley, Alabama was shot and killed earlier in January by his cousin, who is also 12 and was showing off a shotgun he got for Christmas.