TBI: 4-Year-Old Shoots and Kills Deputy's Wife

Apr 9, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Authorities say a 4-year-old shot and killed the wife of a Wilson County sheriff's deputy over the weekend.

The shooting took place inside the Lebanon home of Deputy Daniel Fanning. Authorities say the deputy and a friend were looking at firearms in a bedroom when a 4-year-old, who was also in the room, picked up a gun and pulled the trigger.

The weapon was loaded and discharged once and hitting Josephine Fanning. The deputy’s 48-year-old wife was pronounced dead at the scene.

Matthew Miller, deputy director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, says there are roughly 600 accidental firearm deaths each year in the U.S.  He says children are curious and the research shows simply warning them to avoid picking up a gun doesn’t work.

“The responsible response is to recognize that adults have to provide a safe environment for children. And that means either not having guns in the home if you have children, or making sure that they’re locked up in ways that a child cannot get access to.”

Miller says the number of accidental gun deaths is highest in states like Tennessee where gun ownership is more common.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the Fanning shooting.