Zee Media Bureau
Kentucky: In an awful incident of shooting that further highlights the misguided gun culture in the US, a five year old boy shot dead his 2 year old sister while playing with his rifle in a remote county in Kentucky.
The incident took place in a mobile home in Cumberland County in southern Kentucky, when Stephanie Sparks, the mother of the kid heard gunfire. Her five year old son Kristian, had fatally shot his 2-year-old sister, Caroline, in the chest.
Kristian`s rifle was kept in a corner of the mobile home, and the family didn`t realize a bullet had been left in it, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said.
Kentucky is one of those rural regions in America, where children are handed rifles at a very early age and it is deemed as a symbol of prestige.
In Cumberland County, as elsewhere in Kentucky, local newspapers feature photos of children proudly displaying their kills, including turkey and deer.
White said the shooting had been ruled accidental, though a police spokesman said it was unclear whether any charges will be filed.
White said the boy received the .22-caliber rifle as a gift, but it wasn`t clear who gave him the gun, which is known as a Crickett.
"It`s a normal way of life, and it`s not just rural Kentucky, it`s rural America — hunting and shooting and sport fishing. It starts at an early age," said Cumberland County Judge Executive John Phelps. "There`s probably not a household in this county that doesn`t have a gun."
Phelps, who is much like a mayor in these parts, said it had been four or five years since there had been a shooting death in the county, which lies along the Cumberland River near the Tennessee state line.
"The whole town is heartbroken," Phelps said of Burkesville, a farming community of 1,800 about 90 miles northeast of Nashville, Tenn. "This was a total shock. This was totally unexpected."
Phelps said he knew the family well. He said the father, Chris Sparks, works as a logger at a mill and also shoes horses.
The family lives in a gray mobile home on a long, winding road, surrounded by rolling hills and farmland that`s been in the family since the 1930s. Toys, including a small truck and a basketball goal, were on the front porch, but no one was home Wednesday.
Family friend Logan Wells said he received a frantic call telling him that the little girl was in an accident and to come quickly.
When he got to the hospital, Caroline was already dead. "She passed just when I got there," Wells said.
With Agency Inputs