A boy killed an 8-year-old girl in Tennessee over the weekend, allegedly because she refused to let him see her puppy.
Though many media outlets reported on the puppy altercation, Jefferson County Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig declined to talk about possible motive for the Saturday shooting in White Pine but said the 11-year-old boy used his father's 12-gauge shotgun, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported
. McCoig said that five other children were in the home at the time of the shooting.
The girl, identified by WBIR-TV as McKayla Dyer
, died of one gunshot wound to the chest. Authorities said Dyer was transported to Morristown-Hamblen Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The suspect has been charged as a juvenile.
Dyer and the suspect attended school together at White Pine Elementary School, according to WBIR-TV.
Latasha Dyer, Dyer's mother, told WATE-TV
that the boy shot her daughter after she refused his invitation to come inside the home to see puppies. She said it was not the first incident the family had with the 11-year-old.
"When we first moved to White Pine, the little boy was bullying McKayla," Latasha Dyer told WATE-TV. "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."
White Pine Elementary School principal Bill Walker said in a news conference Monday that the community the was stunned by the shooting.
"The emotions of our staff are so great when something like this happens that we're all trying to love on and pray for and protect all of students," he said.
"We got together as a staff yesterday and had our emotional time with each other, to try to prepare for today. I don't think that you can prepare for when you walk in and see students that are hurting."
McCoig told the News Sentinel that Dyer's death was one of the most emotional he has encountered in his nearly 35 years in law enforcement.
"It's a sad situation," he said. "It's always a sad situation with any death. But it hurts when it's children."
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