OT US Boy With Air Gun Kills Girl

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Cops: Boy Kills Girl With Air Gun

MONROEVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A 7-year-old boy fatally shot a 5-year-old neighbor by firing an air gun point-blank, but no charges are expected against him, authorities said.

Sacorya Johnson was shot just above the left eye just after she came home from school last Thursday, police Capt. C.H. Steen said. Police were not sure if the pump air rifle was loaded with pellets or BB shot, but a projectile entered the girl's skull.

Sacorya was taken to Monroe County Hospital, then flown by helicopter to the University of South Alabama Women's and Children's Hospital in Mobile, where she died Saturday.

Investigators said the gun had been hidden from the boy after he was seen playing with it. He found it Thursday, authorities said.

Representatives of the county's Child Death Review Board will hear evidence about the case, and investigators were trying to determine who, if anyone, could be held responsible, District Attorney Tommy Chapman said. But because the courts have ruled that a 7-year-old is too young to form intent to murder, charges against the boy are unlikely, Chapman said Tuesday.

''Accidents happen,'' Chapman said. ''They have been for years, and they are not going to stop accidental shootings with any legislation.''

Neighborhood parents said they were watching children more closely than before.

''She was a happy little girl,'' said Effie Graham, who lives across the street from where the girl was shot. ''She was so young -- that's what makes it so sad.''

AP-NY-03-15-00 1427EST< 

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 15, 2000

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