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6-Year-Old Accidentally Kills His Mother With Father's Rifle

March 31, 2001|From Reuters

DENVER — A 6-year-old boy who wanted to shoot "daddy's gun" accidentally shot and killed his mother during a family target-shooting session on a Colorado ranch, police said Friday.

Jill Wells, 36, died Wednesday when a bullet fired by her son from a .22-caliber rifle struck her in the head, Lincoln County Sheriff Leroy Yowell said.

The shooting occurred outside the small town of Punkin Center, about 95 miles southeast of Denver.

Jill Wells; her husband, Mike; and their son Tanner, who turns 7 today, were firing at a target attached to a bale of hay when the boy asked whether he could fire his father's lever-action .22-caliber rifle, Yowell said.

"He normally shoots a small .22-caliber rifle we call a Chipmunk, but he wanted to shoot daddy's gun," the sheriff said.

Mike Wells gave his son permission to fire the heavier weapon once, Yowell said. As Wells went to get the lighter rifle from the family truck, the boy cocked his father's gun, and it discharged.

Jill Wells, a registered nurse with a 2 1/2-year-old son as well, was struck in the head at point-blank range and died instantly, Yowell said.

The family did not live on the ranch, which is leased out for hunting and fishing.

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