Safe Tennessee Project’s Statement on Revised Unintentional Firearm Death Numbers

Safe Tennessee Project’s Statement on Revised Unintentional Firearm Death Numbers

“As an organization focused on reducing firearm injuries and deaths in our state, we are pleased to discover that the 2014 number was actually the lowest number in over a decade,” said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “However, using media reports and news stories, we tracked at least 13 unintentional firearm deaths in 2015 and, we’ve already tracked at least 12 this year with the majority each year being children, so we know that we must remain committed to encouraging responsible gun ownership and especially responsible gun storage.”

“We can only begin to address gun violence in our state when we are certain we have the most accurate data. I want to thank the Department of Health for correcting these errors and we look forward to working with them to ensure all public health data as it pertains to gun violence is reported as accurately as possible.”


> August 8, 2016 – Hendersonville – Child – Fatality
An 11-year-old girl was accidentally shot by her father.  He was awakened by a sound and shot at his daughter.  The girl died from her injuries.  Initially the father told police she had been shot outside the home after getting off the school bus. The father has been charged with reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, false reporting and possessing a firearm as a felon.

>> July 3, 2016 – East Ridge – Child – Fatality
A 17-year-old accidentally shot herself with a revolver in an apartment she was visiting in East Ridge. No details on who the gun belonged to. The girl later died from her injuries.

> July 1, 2016 – Clarksville – Child – Fatality
A 3-year-old toddler fatally shot himself in the face with a .40 caliber pistol. The child was visiting from Fort Riley, Kansas, with his family. The gun belonged to the homeowner.

>> June 26, 2016 – Haywood County – Child – Fatality
A fight at a party ended in gunfire and 17-year-old girl was fatally shot by a stray bullet as she hid.

> May 22, 2016 – Nashville – Adult – Fatality
18-year-old track star DeAndre Kpana-Quamoh had recently graduated from East Literature High School and was headed to Alabama State University in the fall on a full academic scholarship. After work Sunday night, he went to a friend’s house. The two were handling a gun they thought was unloaded when it unintentionally discharged, killing DeAndre.

> April 30, 2016 – Huntingdon – Adult – Fatality
Police responded to a call and found an 18-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.  A 38 Smith & Wesson revolver lying next to him.  He was taken to the hospital where he later died.  The TBI and Huntingdon Police Department concluded that the shooting was unintentional.

> March 15, 2016 – Chattanooga – Adult – Fatality
A 22-year-old man was handling a weapon when it discharged, killing 19-year-old Carly Ellis inside a Chattanooga home. The bullet went through a wall and hit Ellis in the neck, according to Chattanooga police.

>> February 29, 2016 – Apison – Child – Fatality
3-year-old Gavin Pittman accidentally shot himself in the head in his family’s minivan. The minivan was parked outside the family’s home. The child’s mother was charged with criminally negligent homicide and child endangerment.

> February 22, 2016 – Greeneville – Adult – Fatality
A Greeneville city official was exiting his work vehicle when his .22 caliber handgun discharged, striking him in the stomach. He was airlifted to the Johnson City Medical Center where he died several weeks later as a result of his injuries.

> February 7, 2016 – Nashville – Adult – Fatality
A man died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot to the head at a Red Roof motel in Nashville. Police said the shooting has been ruled an accident and self-inflicted.

>> January 25, 2016 – Crossville – Child – Fatality
Parents left four children in a car while they went inside a Verizon store to pay a bill. One child found a semi-automatic pistol left inside the mother’s purse and accidentally shot a 7-year-old boy also in the car. The child was shot in the head. He was flown to a Knoxville trauma center for medical treatment where he died. No charges have been filed.

>> January 5, 2016 – Memphis – Child – Fatality
According to police, a 21-year-old man and another person were handling a gun in the upstairs part of a townhome-style apartment when the gun accidentally discharged. The bullet went through the floor, striking a 13-year-old girl who was holding a 12-week-old boy, police said.  LeTara Jones, a sixth-grader at Humes Preparatory Academy, was taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in critical condition and later died. The infant was grazed by a bullet and was in noncritical condition at the hospital.


>> December 12, 2015 – Estill Springs – Child – Fatality
11-year-old Sienna Owens who was shot and killed at her 12-year-old friend’s house. Sienna and several friends were at a boy’s home and the children were in the garage. A gun was produced, a single shot was fired, and Sienna Owens was killed. Police are still investigating the shooting to determine if it was unintentional. However, the death of this young girl is 100% due to the negligent storage of a gun. Middle school aged children should not be allowed access to loaded guns without adult supervision. No charges have been filed.

>> November 17, 2015 – Goodlettsville – Child – Fatality
A father who always kept his loaded gun nearby for protection was watching TV with his two young sons.  The gun had a laser sight and the father was teasing the family cat with the laser.  He set the gun down and left the room.  The older boy picked up the gun and tried to operate the laser but instead, accidentally shot his 5-year-old little brother in the head, killing him.  The father was later charged with felony criminally negligent homicide.

> November 2, 2015 – Clarksville – Adult – Fatality
A 21-year-old woman died after being accidentally shot in the head in Clarksville. Police are not seeking any suspects in connection to the shooting.

> October 9, 2015 – Atwood – Adult – Fatality
A 22-year-old man and some friends were in a garage. The 22-year-old had “dry fired” the 9 mm handgun several times as the loaded magazine hung loose from the weapon, the Sheriff’s Department said. He aimed it at the wall and his knee and the weapon did not fire. He then pointed it at his head and the weapon fired.

> September 28, 2015 – Nashville – Adult – Fatality
A mother of two was mistake for an intruder by her boyfriend who shot and killed her. She was returning home after taking one of her children to school.

>> August 29, 2015 – Murfreesboro – Child – Fatality
A 15-year-old popular football player was accidentally shot in the head at his home. He was life flighted and kept on life support. Four days later, he was declared brain dead.

> August 25, 2015 – Greeneville – Adult – Fatality
Kenneth Oval Hensley, 67, died of chest injures suffered after a shotgun he was carrying on his tractor apparently accidentally discharged. A 12-gauge shotgun was on the ground next to him.

>> August 5, 2015 – Robertson County – Child Fatality
The 15-year-old son of a Robertson County deputy was accidentally shot and killed. No word on who shot him, only that it was an accident. The boy’s father is the school resource officer at his high school.

> June 23, 2015 – Memphis – Child – Fatality
While his mother was at the store and his father was doing yard work, a 4-year-old found his father’s loaded gun and shot and killed himself with it.

> April 22, 2015 – Memphis – Child – Fatality
Two seniors were playing with a gun on senior skip day.  The guns accidentally discharged, killing one of the teens.  The shooter has been charged with reckless homicide.

> March 31, 2015 – Nashville – Child – Fatality
2-year-old child was killed in Madison apartment.  Investigation is ongoing but it is likely the child fired the gun himself.  No charges have been filed.

>> February 27, 2015 – Nashville – Child – Fatality
An 11-year-old little boy and a 15-year-old boy were playing with a gun when the 11-year-old accidentally shot and killed the 15-year-old.

>> February 3, 2015 – Morgan County – Child – Fatality
A 15-year-old was at home with family when he removed a gun out of the family’s gun safe.  The gun fired, killing the boy.