An 11-year-old boy has been charged with murder after he allegedly shot and killed an eight-year-old girl who refused to let him see her puppy. McKayla Dyer was shot in the chest outside her home in White Pine, Tennessee on Sunday (4 October) by the boy, who lives next door and goes to the same primary school.
Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig said the boy, whose name is not being released due to his age, used his father's 12-gauge shotgun to kill McKayla from inside his home. The girl's mother, Latasha Dyer, told local TV station WATE-TV her daughter had been playing outside when the boy asked to see the puppy. After the girl said "no", the boy shot her. Police called to the scene found her on the ground with a chest wound. She was pronounced dead after being taken to a nearby hospital.
"She was a precious little girl, she was a mommy's girl, no matter how bad of a mood you were in she could always make you smile," Ms Dyer told WATE-TV. She added that the family had had problems with the boy in the past.
"When we first moved to White Pine, the little boy was bullying McKayla," she said. "He was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her, I had to go the principal about him and he quit for a while and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her."
"I want her back in my arms. This is not fair. Hold and kiss your babies every night because you're never promised the next day with them. I hope the little boy learned his lesson, because he took my baby's life and I can't get her back," she said.
The boy's family has not commented on the shooting. The tragedy comes as US President Barack Obama issued renewed calls for the nation to reexamine its attitude towards guns. Earlier this week, a five-month-old baby girl was killed in a drive-by shooting in Cleveland and on 1 October, ten people were killed and seven injured following a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.