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Deputy's wife killed when gun goes off in hands of 4-year-old

April 08, 2013|By Matt Pearce

A 4-year-old Tennessee boy picked up a loaded gun and it went off, killing the wife of a sheriff's deputy at a family cookout, state police said Monday.

Josephine Fanning, 48, and her husband, Wilson County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Fanning, were entertaining family and friends at their Lebanon, Tenn., home Saturday evening, Tennessee state police spokeswoman Kristin Helm told the Los Angeles Times, when Daniel Fanning started showing his guns to a friend in his bedroom.

A 4-year-old boy at the cookout walked into the room with Josephine Fanning and picked up a loaded handgun from the bed and it went off, Helm said.

Officials think the shooting was an accident but are investigating in case prosecutors decide to file charges.

"It's a sad, sad set of circumstances," Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan told WSMV-TV. "Nobody is immune to this -- nobody. It doesn't matter if you are a law enforcement officer. These things can happen in seconds."

About 600 Americans die in accidental shootings every year, according to National Center for Injury Prevention and Control statistics, and about 31,000 Americans die of gunshot wounds each year.

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