14/08/2014 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Boy, 4, Accidentally Shot The Sheriff's Wife

Boy, 4, accidentally kills wife of policeman as he shows off his guns to a relative

Another example of the tragic perils of America's gun culture has been brought into stark focus after a four-year-old boy shot and killed a police officer's wife as the policeman was showing his weapons.

Daniel Fanning – the Deputy Sheriff of Wilson County in Tennesse - was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom of his home when the toddler came in and picked up a gun off the bed.

He then accidentally shot and killed the deputy's wife, Josephine Fanning, 48. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Within seconds this small 4-year-old comes into the room, unbeknownst to the officer, and just picked up the gun and shot her," Sheriff Robert Bryan said.

"Danny Fanning is going to have to live with it. Our prayers, our thoughts go out to him and the child."

The child is not related to her or her husband. The Sheriff called the shooting a terrible accident.

The gun was not Fanning's service weapon and the sheriff says the deputy's weapons are normally stored in a safe. No charges are pending, but the state is continuing to investigate.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennessee ranks among the highest in the nation for accidental firearm deaths.