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No charges in accidental shooting death of 4-year-old girl

Updated: 2013-04-04T01:11:57Z

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

The Kansas City Star

Jackson County prosecutors will not file charges in connection with the accidental shooting death of a 4-year-old girl in south Kansas City in January.

Trinity Ross, who had just turned 4, was shot by a 6-year-old relative after the boy found a five-shot revolver under a jacket on a living room chair and fired it. The girl’s caretaker called police just before noon Jan. 10 to the 10500 block of Monroe Avenue.

Officers found Trinity lying on her back on the living room floor with a wound in her forehead. Two relatives, boys ages 5 and 6, were standing in the corner of the living room.

“There is insufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed by a suspect in this case,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Baker said the evidence suggested that the gun’s owner, Trinity’s father, normally kept the gun with him or in a gun safe. The children had never seen the gun before, he told police. But on the day of the shooting, he accidentally left it at home in the jacket. His wife, who was watching the three children, also didn’t know it was there.

The 58-year-old woman left the children momentarily while she went outside to get something from her car, police said. She heard a gunshot, ran back inside and found Trinity wounded.

The girl had just left the Freda Markley Early Childhood Center at 11:30 a.m.

Baker called the shooting “an unfortunate tragedy that should serve as a reminder to everyone to practice responsible gun ownership and to always secure their weapons in a safe location."

The staff at Freda Markley took Trinity’s death very hard, a school official said. Staff members had just celebrated her birthday and knew at least one of the boys from the early childhood program.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com.

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