June 13, 2013
No charges will be filed in the accidental shooting death of a girl in Crozet in May.
Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford released a statement on Thursday detailing how a 13-year-old boy accidentally shot his sister while trying to fix his shotgun in the living room.
The shooting happened the morning of May 21 at a home on McAllister Street.
The Virginia Church of God has identified the victim as Maggie Hollifield, the daughter of Pastor Paul Hollifield of the Victory Hill Church of God.
Lunsford says the girl's brother had been trying to fix his shotgun in the living room, and was testing to see if it was working. He had loaded some rounds into the gun, then thought he removed all of them, but Lunsford says he forgot about the one in the chamber.
Then the gun went off, hitting his sister near the couch.
"The 13-year-old did not recall pulling the trigger," Lunsford said, "but acknowledged that his hand would have been near the trigger at the time."
The children were home alone at the time, which Lunsford said was "not unusual" because the oldest was 15 years old, and they were all home schooled.
After Maggie was shot, a couple of her siblings ran to the next door neighbor's house, who helped them call 911. They also called Maggie's mother, Anne Hollifield, who quickly came home.
Lunsford says the boy was not being reckless.
"There is no evidence that the boy had behavioral problems," Lunsford said, "that he had ever attempted to harm his siblings. His father described the boy as 'tender-hearted.'"
Lunsford also says the parents were not being negligent.
"The parents were unaware that the firearm was loaded or even that ammunition was in the house," said Lunsford.
Lunsford says the boy did not keep the gun loaded, and he had recently passed a training course on gun safety.
Attached below is Lunsford's entire report.