Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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March 10, 2014

Tragedy in Eureka: Detectives believe shooting of 3-year-old accidental

Corsicana — A 3-year-old boy was shot and killed Monday in Eureka in what appears to be an tragic accidental shooting between two cousins, according to Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner.

“We’re being told the other person could be an 8-year-old, we’re not sure who discharged the weapon,” Tanner said. “At this point in time we believe it was an accidental shooting.”

The victim was identified by his mother as Braison Howard of Nacogdoches, in an interview granted to KDFW/Fox 4 News.

The boy died in a rough unfinished shed next door to the house on SECR 3144 near Eureka, about half a mile past the Eureka Cemetery. The neighborhood is near Lakeview Estates, a string of about two dozen manufactured homes, spread out on a dead-end street.

Howard’s family was visiting family in Eureka, according to neighbors. The homeowners have two children, an 8-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. The visiting family also has a younger baby.

Neighbors quickly gathered the children across the street while detectives and EMTs began their work. The neighborhood children were out playing because it’s spring break throughout the county. Children in the neighborhood go to Mildred ISD.

The 911 call came around noon. Howard was shot in the head from close range with a 20-gauge shotgun, according to Tanner. At least two adults were on the premises, but not in direct supervision of the children.

“There were adults at the location but not in contact with the children at the time,” Tanner said. “The family believed the weapon was inaccessible to children.”

The weapon was in the shed, but family members thought the children couldn’t get at it, Tanner said. The shed, however, was open and “100 percent accessible” to the children, he added.

The boy’s body of the victim has been sent to American Forensics for an autopsy.

“This is a horrible tragedy for our community,” Tanner said. The sheriff’s office has asked for a response team from the Department of Public Safety to help responders deal with what they saw.

“This is a traumatic event for the family, the victims, the neighbors in the area and the first responders,” Tanner said.

David Coldiron, who lives less than a quarter of a mile up the road, said he didn’t hear the fatal shot Monday, but came out when sheriff’s deputies and the ambulance arrived.

“It was shocked to hear what happened,” he said. “It’s a sad thing when something like that happens.”

There are a number of kids on the street, who tend to gravitate towards a few houses, playing together and entertaining themselves, neighbors said.

“My heart goes out to them. The family needs prayers. They love their kids. They’re a good family,” said Carla Barrilleaux, the neighbor who called 911. “This is a tragedy for our neighborhood and this family.”

The mother of the 8-year-old asked for understanding and space for her family, calling it a traumatic event.

If the boy is determined to be the shooter, he will not be charged. State law does not allow for prosecution of a child that young, Tanner said.

However, if the weapon was allowed to be accessible to the children, then adults could be held responsible.

“If the weapon was left accessible,” Tanner said. “We can’t make that determination now.”

Investigators are still collecting evidence in the case, he said.

     —————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

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