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Boy, 4, accidentally kills Tennessee deputy's wife

By Sheila Burke

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:30 p.m. HST, Apr 08, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. » A 4-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot and killed the wife of a sheriff's deputy, authorities said today.

The shooting Saturday evening was inside the Lebanon home of Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning.

Fanning was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom when the toddler came in and picked up a loaded gun on the bed, officials said. The weapon discharged as soon as the child picked it up, hitting 48-year-old Josephine Fanning, said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan.

Josephine Fanning was pronounced dead at the scene. The child was not related to her or her husband.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in because the investigation involved an official with the sheriff's department.

Bryan said the shooting was a terrible accident.

"Danny Fanning is going to have to live with it," the sheriff said. "Our prayers, our thoughts go out to him and the child."

The sheriff said the guns were normally stored in a safe, and the deputy had placed one on a bed to get to another gun. "Within seconds this small 4-year-old comes into the room, unbeknownst to the officer, and just picked up the gun and shot her."

Bryan said Fanning has worked in the department for about eight or nine years and is a school resource officer.

He said he would wait for the TBI to complete its investigation before making a decision about what to do with the deputy, but did not anticipate that the shooting would affect Fanning's job.

The gun was not Fanning's service weapon, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.

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whs1966 wrote:
Sadly, we can expect incidents like this to occur more often as more people keep weapons in their homes.
on April 8,2013 | 11:32AM
serious wrote:
Correct, adult supervision.
on April 8,2013 | 11:36AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Or in schools.
on April 8,2013 | 11:50AM
poidragon wrote:
Sadly, the man was a police officer who should have been trained to keep an unloaded gun in the house, but seems that bit of evidence escapes and baffles the mind! Why, Why, Why was the gun loaded and sitting on the bed, for anyone to walk in and grab, in the first place? Gun ownership 101 and common sense lesson #1: Don't keep a loaded fire arm any where in the house where a child can get to it! Yes, this was a tragedy, and the worlst part is that it could have been totally avoided, if they had followed some common sense rules, but when it comes to guns and common sense, everybody loses! HEY NRA, are you listening? This was AVOIDABLE, How many more tragedies like this will occur in our Country because of your idiocy about gun own ership?
on April 8,2013 | 08:08PM
busterb wrote:
I bet he had just finished saying how he got this one recently to protect his wife while at home.
on April 8,2013 | 11:39AM
engineersoldier wrote:
Yea, we really need more guns to be safe!
on April 8,2013 | 12:09PM
busterb wrote:
Well they cut off the end of the story where the sheriff took down the 4 year old with his service revolver.
on April 8,2013 | 12:19PM
copperwire9 wrote:
What a disgusting comment. You thought...you were being clever?
on April 8,2013 | 07:57PM
busterb wrote:
What a 4 year old shooting an adult is ok, but the lady's husband, who was so lame as to leave his new toy on a bed for the kid to pick up and take out his wife isn't? THAT, my friend, is clever. So is all of the Senators who swore to filibuster the weapons bill today. Cash talks, morals walk.
on April 8,2013 | 09:23PM
false wrote:
Now how stupid is this? Really sad.
on April 8,2013 | 12:52PM
hanalei395 wrote:
That sheriff's deputy was probably bragging to his relative that how safe he feels with all his weapons. How his family, his wife, are safe and protected.
on April 8,2013 | 01:24PM
what wrote:
I don't always have intruders breaking into my home. But when I do, I want a gun nearby.
on April 8,2013 | 02:29PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
what, I don't expect any intruders, so I don't own any guns. I do have knives, a spear and other weapons. And noisy vicious dogs. It's gonna hurt. If I lived in a house in a dangerous area, I MIGHT get a gun, as well as alarm systems and bigger dogs.
on April 8,2013 | 06:38PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
hanalei, my sentiments exactly. You'd think a law officer would have more common sense. So sad. What a terrible price to pay.
on April 8,2013 | 02:49PM
MexMe wrote:
RetiredWorking, "a terrible price to pay"? The dead woman is the one who paid the price for her stupid husband! This was no accident and it wasn't the woman's fault, the toddler's fault or even the gun's fault. The fault lies with the deputy who should have known better but let his manhood/ego/stupidity or whatever get in the way. A woman is dead and he will go on with his life as a deputy and a widower and might even remarry. His wife? Well, she was the victim of being married to an idiot. That shouldn't be a reason for anyone to die...
on April 8,2013 | 10:19PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Totally unreal. Gun don't kill people, toddlers do!
on April 8,2013 | 02:30PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Kid was a good shot.
on April 8,2013 | 03:00PM
alfhawaii wrote:
she should have been armed so she could protect herself
on April 8,2013 | 03:13PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Please keep in mind that in all sides of this gun control debate, NO ONE is suggesting that we limit police officer's access to the firearms. None of these clip size limits, assault rifle bans, handgun restrictions, "gun free zones" or whatever apply to the police. None. Zero. Zip.

Regardless of how pro gun control or anti-gun you might be, or how much you believe the 4th amendment is talking about muskets and the Army, nothing you propose would have kept this tragedy from happening.

on April 8,2013 | 03:28PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Why is he showing off LOADED guns to anyone? Why didn't he have the SAFETY on? This man should not be in law enforement and should not be allowed to have guns.
on April 8,2013 | 07:30PM
busterb wrote:
I totally agree with you, but why in the hell was the thing LOADED if he was just showing it off to a relative? Having a loaded gun in the same house as a 4 year old running around? Sure you can say, well that will never happen... But it did, didn't it? Close friend of mine died when he and a friend found the shotgun his friend's father had around for protection... Tough way to end 7th grade.
on April 8,2013 | 09:27PM
RYMATS wrote:
If everyone had 20-20 hindsight, like most of these commentors, accidents wouldn't happen. True, the gun should have been checked and un-loaded before allowing it to be examined but probably in his excitement to show off he neglected a basic and common rule of gun safety and handling. But..ignorance is ignorance and accidents are accidents, you have to feel sorry for the man as he has a lifetime of regret to live with of an un-anticipated tragedy. PS: Consider too, how often children have the knack for touching things and their presence not even noticed. Keeping weapons (swords, knives, baseball bats, etc) and guns in a home was not the cause of this tragedy.
on April 9,2013 | 06:37AM
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