An 8-year-old girl in Tennessee is dead from a gunshot wound to her chest and an 11-year-old boy is in custody, charged with her murder, authorities in Jefferson County are saying.
Jefferson County Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig said that authorities were called to a White Pine neighborhood around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 after a report of a shooting, WBIR News reports.
Deputies found the young female victim on the ground with a gunshot wound to her chest. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
McCoig said it was believed the girl’s next-door neighbor — a fifth grader at White Pine Elementary School — shot her from inside his own house, using his father’s single-shot 12-gauge shotgun. The victim was a third grader at the same school.
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Authorities have not released the victim’s name. But both WBIR and WVLT News report that neighbors in the community say the victim was Maykayla Dyer, though WVLT reported her first name as being spelled "McKayla."
Chasity Atwood, one of those neighbors, told WVLT that she saw the girl get shot.
“The little boy had the bedroom window open, [He] asked the little girl if he could see her puppy,” Atwood said. “She laughed and giggled and said ‘no.’ Then turned and looked at her friend and said ‘let's go get the …’ and never got ‘puppy’ out.”
McCoig said that because of the sensitive nature of the case, authorities were not releasing the 11-year-old’s name.
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“We're trying to protect them as much as they've been hurt by this tragedy, as everybody in the community is,” he said, according to WVLT. “We just ask you to bear with us and pray with us.”
The 11-year-old has been charged with first degree murder and is due in court Oct. 5, according to WBIR. The district attorney told WVLT that because he is a juvenile the hearing will be confidential and closed to the public.
Photo credit: Submitted photo via WBIR News