Guns, Drugs and Kids

This is part of an article that appeared in a recent edition of the Indianapolis Star newspaper:

“In a household bounding with young children, 26-year-old Fiona Lee took an afternoon shower and left a .45-caliber handgun behind.  It was a fatal oversight.

Within minutes, a 4-year-old boy grabbed the gun from a low side table in the kitchen, pointed it at the head of Lee’s 3-year-old daughter, Aunesti, and pulled the trigger.  Now Lee is in jail, her daughter is dead, and the 4-year-old boy and his father are missing.”

I own the duplex next door to the house in this story, and my tenant called to tell me about “the accident.”  She had called 911 to get help for the girl who had been shot.  I was shocked by this incident . . . I own two rentals on the street, which has a low incidence of crime and a high percentage of owner-occupied homes.  I was interviewed by a local TV news channel (as a neighborhood landlord).  I own the white duplex right next door to where the little girl died.  Here’s the news clip:

Evidently, there was a lot of “traffic” in and out of this house.  I try to urge my tenants to let me know when this is occuring so that I can call Narcotics and have them do surveillance on the property.  This tragedy could’ve been avoided …

Interviews with Aunesti’s sister and brother and forensic evidence showed that Curtis wasn’t simply playing with the handgun when it accidentally discharged, police said.

“He aimed it,” Sgt. Duhamell said. “Kids that age know what guns are — they are exposed to them all the time on TV and in games. He might have thought it was a toy, but the mother said the kids played with toy guns before.”

After the shooting, the frightened children ran to a neighbor’s house as Lee rushed down the stairs from the shower. Curtis White came home minutes later and went with the family to Riley Hospital for Children, where the girl was pronounced dead.

But before detectives could interview Curtis, his father left the hospital with him.  Police said the Indiana Department of Child Services would interview Curtis Jr., if he is brought in, to determine whether the boy should remain with his mother and father.

Instead, a three-year-old girl is dead and the four-year-old shooter’s life will never be the same.

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