A 5-year-old boy accidentally fired a loaded gun he thought was a toy at a South Carolina birthday party Saturday night, killing a 7-year-old girl.
According to Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, the boy wanted to get a toy gun out of a trunk in his home, but instead he picked up a real firearm that belonged to his mother’s boyfriend. The mother told police she did not know that her boyfriend kept a gun in the trunk.
The gun went off and a bullet went through a car. Fragments struck 7-year-old Juliet Lynch, killing her.
Sheriff Metts also said that bullet fragments hit another 5-year-old boy in the arm.
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Lynch's father, Corey Salley, described the terror of hearing the loud shot.
"I said, 'Oh goodness,' and I wasn't thinking that someone could be shooting at a kid's birthday party. So I ran around front and that's the first thing I see is my daughter on the ground," Salley told local news. "I picked her up and I ran."
His wife, Priscilla Salley, was also present for the terrible scene.
"I dropped everything, all I heard was 'Juliet! Juliet! Juliet!' And then I saw her blood," said Priscilla.
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The couple rushed their daughter to the hospital, but it was too late. They had to tell Lynch’s twin sister that she was “in heaven” and wouldn’t be coming home.
While they recognize that the shooting was a tragic accident, the family still wants to see the adults involved held accountable.
"Why would there be a gun at a kid's birthday party? And if you do got a gun, why don't you have safety on it, out of reach of a kid," Corey Salley said.
"I just want justice done. I can't blame the little boy. He's a kid himself, but the adults that were there, whoever had what gun, they need to go to jail."
Sheriff Metts said charges could be filed.