Coroner says brother accidentally shot sister
UPDATE: Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges says based on the autopsy of Miranda, she did not accidentally shoot herself. Her six-year-old brother accidentally shot Miranda.
Newton County Prosecutor Jake Skouby says he hasn’t received paperwork yet to file possible charges against the parents. Skouby says a decision needs to be made whether or not storage of the gun lead to child endangerment.
A mother speaks about the pain of discovering her young daughter accidentally shot. Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland says three-year-old Miranda Doerr was pronounced dead yesterday at Freeman Hospital, about an hour after emergency responders received a 911 call concerning Doerr.
Both Miranda’s mother and Sheriff Copeland tell us the shooting was accidental. Sheriff Copeland says there were at least three guns in the home where Miranda was shot. The sheriff says Miranda and her six-year-old brother were in the same room when Miranda was shot, but it’s unclear right now if Miranda or her brother pulled the trigger of the .22 caliber pistol.
We talked to the mom, Jennifer, by phone today. She says her husband and 20-year-old son are maintenance workers in the Bykota mobile home park, outside Joplin. The Doerr’s also live in this mobile home park. Jennifer says her husband and 20-year-old son kept the guns to protect themselves from dogs in the mobile home park.
Jennifer says guns were not kept in safes, but were in rooms that were usually locked. The day of Miranda’s death, the rooms were not locked. Police say Miranda was found in her 20-year-old brother’s room.
Sheriff Copeland believes there should have been better protective measures inside the home.
“It’s been reported to us that normally he (the 20-year-old son) would keep that room locked and secured. There was an attempt at it. The door itself wasn’t locked, it was open. And they had a small, kind of like a baby gate, made out of a piece of plywood. It was a makeshift gate. It wasn’t so high that the three and six-year-old could not climb over it. And they had climbed over that,” says Sheriff Copeland.
“To secure a firearm, that means secured and locked all the time. It can’t be all the time, except for just this instant. All it takes is an instant,” says Sheriff Copeland.
“I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment, everybody to keep and bear arms. But you still have to be responsible. You can’t be negligent,” says Sheriff Copeland.
The victim’s mother, Jennifer, was too distraught to talk to us on camera. She says she heard the gunshot, but thought it was from outside her home. Sheriff Copeland says the decision of if charges should be filed or not will come from the county prosecutor, after results come back from an autopsy, which is scheduled later this week.
A fund has been established in Miranda’s name at all Community Bank and Trust locations throughout Southwest Missouri.