Moral Low Ground


Shayla Shonneker, 9-Year-Old Oregon City Girl, Accidentally Shot Dead by Mother’s Boyfriend

April 15, 2013 by Brett Wilkins in Crime & Punishment with 2 Comments

A 9-year-old northern Oregon girl has died after being accidentally shot by her mother’s boyfriend while he was handling a pistol.

KPTV reports that Shayla Shonneker was playing in the back yard of her Oregon City home while her mother’s boyfriend, 32-year-old Joseph Wolters, was practicing holstering and unholstering his gun inside the home. The weapon discharged, and the bullet left the home and struck Shonneker in the face.

Police and paramedics rushed to the scene at just after 5 p.m. The gravely wounded girl was airlifted to Oregon Heath and Science University Hospital, where she died.

During police questioning, Wolters told investigators that he was practicing handling his gun because he had recently been hired to work as a security officer with an armored transport company. He is also a member of the military reserve and is a decorated Iraq war veteran, the Oregonian reports.

Police have not yet announced whether any charges will be filed in connection with the deadly incident.

Shayla is the latest in a string of victims of accidental shootings involving children.

On Saturday, 7-year-old Gavin Brummett of Salina, Kansas died a day after accidentally shooting himself with a .9 mm handgun during a shooting session with his father and brothers.

Also on Saturday, Titania Mitchell, 13, of Jacksonville, Florida was found shot to death in an unsupervised home full of children in what police believe was an accident.

Thursday afternoon, 17-year-old Bernard Jamal Scott died after being shot while watching a fight on a Philadelphia playground.

On April 8, 6-year-old Brandon Holt of Toms River, New Jersey died after being accidentally shot by his 4-year-old neighbor and playmate.

Two days earlier, Josephine Fanning, the 48-year-old wife of a Wilson County, Tennessee sheriff’s deputy, was shot and killed by her 4-year-old nephew during a family cookout.

This list does not include all victims of child-involved accidental shootings during the month of April.

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  1. PJ ClevengerApril 15, 2013 at 10:15 amReply

    These deaths are tragic but unfortunately, most of them are the fault of the irresponsible parents.

    • Brett WilkinsApril 15, 2013 at 10:41 amReplyAuthor

      Agreed, however, in many of these cases, the “irresponsible parents” are law enforcement officials and military veterans. While I am not necessarily implying anything, this does beg the question: if cops and soldiers can’t guarantee kids’ safety, then who can?

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