A 16-year-old girl was killed Sunday when a man accidentally shot her while she was taking a picture of him with a rifle.
The incident occurred at around 5 p.m., after 16-year-old Selena Lewis drove with two other men to an address to look at a gun one of them wished to buy, WSOC reported.
One of the men was a friend, Christopher Lewis, 21, while the other ,Clayton Webb, 21, was a man she had just met. It was Webb who accidentally fired the shot.
According to Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Captain Joel Fish, Lewis tried to take a picture of Webb holding the green and black Ruger .22 rifle. The owner had reportedly left the gun in the back of a pickup at the property because they were not at home.
Webb later told police that he was unaware a round was in the weapon. He shot Lewis in the chest as she took the picture.
“I heard a pop and a scream,” said Tina Yang, who lived nearby, according to WSOC.
“They were trying to help her,” Yang said of the neighbors. “When the fire truck came, I heard one of the guys shout for them to hurry.”
Lewis was rushed to hospital, but she died before she could be moved to another facility in Charlotte, Daily Mail reported.
“Always check. Always check the chamber,” Lewis’s relatives were quoted as saying afterwards, according to WSOC.
No charges have been filed so far, but a report on the incident will be made available to the district attorney’s office.
“It's unreal. It truly is. It doesn't matter if the clip is in there or not -- always check the chamber. Before you even look at it, check the chamber,” Brent Lewis, Selena’s brother, told WSOC.
This message was reinforced by the police.
“You treat all guns as loaded and you always make sure it is unloaded. Even if someone hands you the weapon and says it's unloaded, you go ahead and check it again,” Fish said.
According to information obtained from the National Shooting Sports Foundation by WSOC, there were 530 unintended deaths involving firearms in 2013. However, it also noted that firearms are responsible for less than 0.39 percent of unintentional deaths in the United States.
Photo credit: Handout via Daily Mail