Man Accidentally Shoots, Kills 6-Year-Old Niece
Girl Killed When Uncle Tries To Make Gun Safe
POSTED: 2:15 pm EST January 16, 2009
UPDATED: 12:55 am EST January 17, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- A 6-year-old girl was killed Friday afternoon when her uncle tried to unload a gun to make it safe and it went off, fatally wounding the child, deputies said.
Spartanburg County deputies said that Madison Bonnie Lawrence, who lived with her grandmother in Woodruff, was visiting her uncle's home on Johnson Lake Road in Whitestone.
Investigators said the uncle took the .45-caliber handgun out from under a sofa and was unloading it because he was concerned about Madison's safety.
Deputies said that while the uncle was trying to unload the gun, it fired and struck Madison in the face.
Spartanburg Sheriff's Major Dan Johnson said, "The sad part about it, he was trying to make it safe for the child to play in the house."
Madison was transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at about 1:40 p.m.
Johnson said, "Our investigator and victim advocate, of course, has talked with the family and certainly (with) something this tragic, they're upset. It's very understandable with what they're faced with now."
Deputies said the Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting, but said it appears to be accidental.
Spartanburg Sheriff's Major Dan Johnson said, "This is the worst kind of story the family would have to deal with -- to recognize the loss here of a 6-year-old child and a terrible tragedy."
Deputies said the shooting is a valuable lesson for anyone who handles a gun.
"Certainly any handgun or firearm at all should be treated as a loaded weapon. And not all people are experts with guns, and something like that -- you've got to be extremely careful anytime you're handling a gun."
Watch WYFF News 4 for more on this developing story.