A 6-year-old girl in Missouri died last week after police said she was shot by her 12-year-old brother during a Christmas party, according to local reports.
Maliyah Palmer died at a nearby hospital after she was shot in the head, Fox2 reported. The two were being watched by their 16-year-old sister. Police in Florissant responded to the shooting at 11 p.m. on Dec. 14.
The 12-year-old boy allegedly found the gun in a dresser located in his parent’s bedroom before firing the gun. His sister was nearby, the report said.
This photo breaks my heart. Her smile is precious.
Maliyah Palmer was 6 years old. She was shot in the head when a sibling found a gun inside their home. pic.twitter.com/w47T5ODJAl
— Alexis Zotos (@alexiszotos) December 17, 2018
“All of the officers who responded to the scene are mothers and fathers, so you can only imagine how personal it is to see a child shot in the back of the head. We will have counselors here for a debriefing hopefully this week to make sure the mental state of our officers is OK,” Timothy Lowery, the Florissant police chief, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Police described the incident as a tragic accident and will hand over evidence to prosecutors. Officials said no charges would be filed, but the Post-Dispatch noted that the parents have been charged in similar cases prior to the shooting.
“You couldn’t have written a more tragic script, the whole thing is just so tragic and terrible, but we have to put our personal feelings aside and do the law enforcement side of this,” Lowery stated, according to the newspaper.
The parents’ names were not disclosed by police. Nor was the name of the 12-year-old boy.
“Investigators have determined that this was a tragic accident and no charges will be filed at this time,” police said in the statement.
Other details about the case are not clear.
Florissant, which has a population of about 50,000, is a suburb of St. Louis in Missouri.
The girl was a student at Green Trails Elementary School in Chesterfield, which issued a statement to families.
“I am writing to share some tragic news. Friday evening, one of our first-grade students, Maliyah Palmer, died from what the family reports was an accidental gunshot wound. Maliyah was a student in Mrs. Ellinger’s classroom. It is difficult to find the right words to convey this information, but necessary so that we all work together to support this family, our students, staff, and community,” the statement read, reported Fox2.
“Staff was made aware yesterday afternoon. The district will be supporting us by sending additional counselors and social workers to school first thing Monday morning. In addition, we are working with Annie’s Hope—The Center for Grieving Kids. We will meet as a staff before school to process and discuss how we will share this news with students in an age-appropriate way. Our goal will be to keep the day and routine normal. We will share the news honestly and openly so that understanding, processing, grieving and healing can begin,” it added.
The school also said not to use “euphemisms” about the death. “Equating death with sleep, ‘passing’ or ‘going away’ can cause confusion. It can also cause the child to be anxious about falling asleep or loved ones leaving on trips,” the school said.