Boy, 5, Shoots Sister, 2, With Child-Size Gun Marketed As 'My First Rifle'

02/05/2013 15:13 | Updated 22 May 2015

A two-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed by her five-year-old brother while he was playing with a child-size rifle he was given as a present.

Toddler Caroline Starks, from Burkesville, Kentucky, US, was shot in the chest by her brother's .22-calibre rifle when their mum popped out for a few minutes.

The single-shot weapon fired is a rifle specifically marketed to children as 'My First Rifle' by company Keystone Sporting Arms. It was given to the young boy as a gift last year.

Identifying the weapon, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told the local paper: "It's a little rifle for a kid. ...The little boy's used to shooting the little gun.

"Accidents happen with guns. They thought the gun was actually unloaded, and it wasn't."

He said the gun was kept in a corner and the family didn't realise a shell was left inside it. "It's 'just one of those crazy accidents," he said.

According to its website, Keystone Sporting Arms produced 60,000 of the Crickett and Chipmunk rifles in 2008. It also makes guns for adults, but most of its products are geared toward children.


The smaller guns come in all sorts of colours, including blue and pink. The company's slogan is 'my first rifle' and its website has a 'Kids Corner' section where pictures of young boys and girls are displayed, most of them showing the children at shooting ranges and on bird and deer hunts. The smaller rifles are sold with a mount to use at a shooting range.


Police said the shooting occurred when the boy was 'playing' with the rifle, but did not elaborate.

It is not clear whether any charges will be filed, said Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Billy Gregory. "I think it's too early to say whether there will or won't be," he said.

The tragedy is the latest in a string of shootings involving children in the United States.

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