Cumberland child shot and killed during play

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CUMBERLAND — Officers were dispatched to the accidental shooting of 4-year-old Deor Neita at 4:38 p.m. Wednesday.

Mark Waggoner, detective sergeant with Cumberland Police Department, said that Deor, along with four other siblings, were playing in an upstairs room when her 6-year-old brother accidentally fired the gun that struck her.

Police and medical personnel quickly arrived at the 600 block of Woodlark Drive, but despite medical personnel’s best efforts, Deor was declared dead at the scene.

The children were being watched by their great-great-grandmother at the time while their mother was away at work.

Waggoner said that the Department of Child Services, DCS, had a team also respond to the scene and conducted their own investigation alongside them. DCS did end up removing the remaining children from the home late Wednesday night.

Waggoner said the department is currently in the process of getting the children interviewed by a forensic interviewer,and finding family members to make meaningful unifications to ensure the safety of the children.

Police were able to recover the firearm and collected DNA and fingerprints from most of the people inside the home and off the gun to see who they can find and trace ownership of the gun. Working alongside ATF, the department is currently trying to find where the gun was purchased.

“Nobody wanted to claim ownership of the gun right away,” Waggoner said.

Waggoner said they primarily believed the gun was kept in the top drawer of a dresser by itself with no safety and it seems that the children had knowledge of its whereabouts.

“I don’t believe there was any intent for the 6-year-old to harm his sister. They were just kids playing with a gun, maybe thinking it was a toy,” Waggoner said.

Waggoner also said that there was indication that the gun was fired by a child due to the shell casing not fully ejecting — something that can happen if the one who is shooting the gun does not have a lot of strength.

Waggoner said they’ve been lucky as far as not having very many child homicides, and within the amount they have had, he believes this one is the only accidental shooting.

In order to prevent incidents like this from happening, CPD offers free safety locks as do most of the police departments in Indiana Waggoner said.

“There’s no reason they should be out and accessible to any child. These gun locks are free,” Waggoner said. “If you’re going to own a gun, then you need to have it safely kept somewhere away from kids if you have kids in your house.”

This is an ongoing investigation.