JASPER, Mo. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy deliberately shot and killed a 12-year-old girl outside a foster home in rural southwest Missouri where they both lived using a gun he had taken from the house, the local sheriff said Friday.
Officers tried to revive the girl, Teresa J. Potts, but she died Thursday evening near the town of Jasper, which is about 130 miles south of Kansas City, Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser said.
Kaiser said the boy ran into the nearby woods after shooting the girl and he was arrested there. He is being held by the Jasper County Juvenile Office, Kaiser said at a news conference in nearby Carthage, adding that the boy is expected to be charged in the shooting soon. The sheriff’s comments were reported by The Joplin Globe and Springfield, Mo. TV Station KY3.
“It was not a situation where they were playing. It does not appear to be a situation where it was an accident,” Kaiser said.
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Kaiser said both of the children lived at the foster home. The father was at home at the time of the shooting. Kaiser declined to describe the relationship between the two children.
Rebecca Woelfel, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services, declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality rules under Missouri law.
The sheriff said investigators believe the boy took the gun from the home, but he gave no further details on the weapon or how many times the girl was shot.
“There was more than one weapon missing at the time of search. All of those weapons have been recovered,” he said.
The boy was an 8th grader and the girl in 7th grade in the Jasper School District, Kaiser said. A crisis team was available to help students on Friday, Superintendent Rick Stark said in a statement.
“We are all upset and still in shock right now,” said Stark, who added no further information would be released.
This is the latest in a string of fatal shootings of children by children.
Earlier this week, an 11-year-old boy was charged with murder in the shooting death of an 8-year-old neighbor in a dispute over a puppy in White Pine, Tennessee. This September, an 11-year-old boy fatally shot a 16-year-old intruder in his home this. In Arizona last month, a boy charged with killing his father and another man when he was 8 years old was cleared by a judge to transition into a foster home and enroll in public school. He is among the youngest homicide suspects in the U.S.
The Brady Campaign Center and Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said Friday that 2,703 children and teens were shot to death in 2011, its latest year for statistics, and 61 percent of those deaths were homicides.
Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com