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4-Year Old Florida Girl Dies After Shooting Self with Gun from Grandma’s Purse

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Published on: September 23, 2017

A 4-year-old Florida died a week ago Thursday due to accidentally shooting herself in the chest as she reached into her grandmother’s purse for candy and instead pulled the trigger on her gun.

Little Yanelly Zoller, who went by the nickname “Nelly,” accidentally pulled the trigger on the weapon and died as a result of the gunshot wound on September 14, 2017.

Yanelly’s father, Shane, said, “She just wanted some damn candy.”

Police say that they are not suspecting foul play and that they believe the story to be true.

Both of Nelly’s grandparents, Michael and Christie Zoller, were at home at the time of the shooting, according to police.

The manner of death was listed as an accident by the Hillsborough County medical examiner’s office, and when the gun was fired, the bullet perforated Nelly’s lungs, aorta and esophagus.

The father of three buried his little girl as he still has one child in his house and another on the way.

The 22-year-old father told the Tampa Bay Times, “I was driving to pick her up with her bathing suit in my car to take her to the splash pads.   “When I pulled up, that’s when I saw all the police lights.”

Nelly’s parents each had joint custody of her and Shane said that she was a daddy’s girl who liked playing mechanic and putting on makeup.

“She loved to help daddy work on the car,” he said. “She would hand me tools. But she also really liked doing her makeup.”

According to Florida law,

“a person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm … and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock.”

The only exception is “When the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.”

If the firearm is not secured “in the required manner,” it is a misdemeanor if a minor gains access to it without permission.

Certainly, no one would want the grandparents to face such consequences on top of losing their granddaughter.  They already have to live with those consequences of negligence.

However, there is a lesson here and that is a simple one:  Make sure your gun is on you or in a place that small children cannot access it unless you are teaching them how to respect and use the weapon.

John Woodrow Cox reported last week, an average of 23 children were shot each day in 2015, according to a review of the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s at least one bullet every 63 minutes.

That year, an estimated 8,400 children were struck, and 1,458 of them died — more than in any year since at least 2010. That death toll amounted to more than the entire number of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan over the past 10 years.

The family has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Nelly’s funeral costs. Also, a YouCaring campaign helped to raise money as well.

“So many broken hearts who are waiting to be told this is all one big nightmare,” read a message on the YouCaring page. “The shock and disbelief is real. The death of a child turns the world upside down and leaves unanswered questions of why? The only answer that half way makes sense is Heaven needed another angel. Her star shines bright. Our beautiful angel was taken by a freak accident, one that is difficult to discuss.”

“Please love your children … please let them know you love them and never go to bed without giving them their little kisses and there hugs because you never know when it’ll be the last time you’ll say good night,’ the message concluded.

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