4-Year-Old Kills Deputy's Wife
Tennessee woman shot; incident called accidental
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 9, 2013 6:07 AM CDT
A 4-year-old boy shot a deputy's wife.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A family cookout turned tragic Saturday, when a 4-year-old shot and killed a Tennessee sheriff's deputy's wife—apparently accidentally, police say. Josephine Fanning's young nephew entered a bedroom where her husband was showing guns to another relative, reports NewsChannel5. The boy took a gun from the bed and fired a single shot, killing Fanning, 48, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says. The sheriff says no one saw the child enter: "Split second, we're talking about seconds for that kid to walk in that room unbeknownst to them, grab that gun, and it goes off."

Deputy Daniel Fanning wasn't on duty during the incident, and the gun was a personal weapon, not a police one, a TBI rep says, per the Tennessean. The shooting, currently under investigation, "appears accidental at this time," the rep adds. No charges are pending.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
4-Year-Old Kills Deputy's Wife is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 199 comments
Apr 10, 2013 6:21 PM CDT
Apr 10, 2013 3:15 AM CDT
This story is a classic lesson in stupidity. Here we have a police officer allowing someone (in this case a 4 year old child!) to gain access to a loaded gun. I know from first hand experience that a child, particularly a precocious child, can appear out of nowhere and commit a dangerous act faster than you would believe possible. As a gun owner the deputy should not have been showing off LOADED guns. As a cop he has to have known better. I have NEVER handled my weapons without going through the clearance procedures FIRST, even when I have just pulled them out of storage and knowing that I do not store my weapons loaded. This is a habit that must be fully ingrained and practiced EVERY TIME prior to handling a weapon. I have children; they are all well acquainted with guns, to the point where they are no longer attractive to them as toys. They all know that guns can be dangerous. They have all been educated not to handle guns without permission and to leave the area immediately and report anyone that is showing a gun or knife in school; to report any weapon but not touch any weapons found in the street, school, parks or playgrounds. But even with all of this, when I bring out my guns to show them to people it is with DEMONSTRATED EMPTIED WEAPONS. Plus I do not allow my children to be in the same room when I am showing or cleaning or otherwise handling my weapons. That is what a locked door is for. Sadly, this deputy violated basic safety rules, rules that he should have been following out of habit. It cost the life of his wife; scarred for life himself and those that saw this horrible accident occur; and caused a child to always be associated with killing his aunt. How he will remember this? And how is he now? But see this for what it is: a horrible accident caused by negligent actions, actions committed by a professional policeman. If nothing else, he should be prosecuted for negligent homicide. Whether he is charged or not, he needs to be fired or to resign from police work and not be allowed to own or handle guns ever again. This may sound cruel, but consider this: what if that baby had shot himself? Or if he had managed to shoot himself AND his aunt? Or anyone else who was there?
Apr 10, 2013 2:09 AM CDT
If it was not a service revolver, why was it loaded? How many people with guns HAVE been the first to fire their weapon at a burglar?. As a Constitutional Right, how come gun owners don't strap on their guns and go to the bank to withdraw money or go grocery shopping with it in their pockets or handbags?. People are talking about gun ownership as if it is a blood transfusion;without their guns, they will die? And how does a four year old know how to shoot a gun? Can't gun manufacturers build into their guns safety mechanisms that would make it difficult for anyone to pick it up and immediately know how to point it and shoot real bullets into real people? How many four year old's can hot-wire a car if the keys are not in the ignition? SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING, PLEASE!!!!