A Florida woman, thinking she heard an intruder in her home, fired her gun at what turned out to be her 27-year-old daughter, Yahoo News is reporting.
According to the woman’s version of events, she was sound asleep in her home in Saint Cloud (a suburb of Orlando) late Tuesday night when she heard a noise that she thought indicated an intruder. She said she heard footsteps “approaching quickly,” so she fired a single shot.
The “intruder” turned out to be the woman’s 27-year-old daughter, who was struck by the shot. She was taken to a hospital where she later died. The mother was also treated at the hospital.
It is not clear, as of this writing, what kind of gun was used in the shooting. It is also not clear if the daughter lived at the home or was simply visiting.
Saint Cloud police say the evidence seems to match the woman’s version of events, according to an official press release.
“At this time, the incident appears to be an accidental shooting.”
As of this writing, Saint Cloud police are proceeding as if the shooting was accidental.
Police are not releasing the names of either the victim or the shooter, since one of the people involved in the shooting (it’s not clear which) is or was involved in law enforcement. Florida law allows for such information to be withheld in cases where a law enforcement officer (or someone in an affiliated capacity) is involved. WFTV (Orlando) reports that the shooter’s husband, also the stepfather of the victim, is a long-time Saint Cloud undercover narcotics officer, who was in the house at the time of the shooting. Neighbors also tell WESH (Orlando) that the mother is a dispatcher with “a local law enforcement agency,” although that has not been officially confirmed.
Neighbor Cynthia Rivera told WESH that the police response to the shooting was terrifying.
“I was terrified. I was here with my daughters and we woke up when we heard the sirens and the lights were reflecting in the home. My dog kept barking.”
She also believes that the 35,000-strong community of Saint Cloud will likely grieve the tragic events.
“I mean, it’s the holidays. It’s very sad for any family member, especially a mother, you know, to accidentally kill their daughter. My condolences for the family. I’m imagining all St. Cloud is grieving as well.”
Neighbor Harry Morris called the events “shocking.”
To at least one foreign media outlet, this accidental shooting is emblematic of the problem of gun violence in the United States. As the Sydney Morning Herald writes:
“[Gun violence] in America never takes a holiday… The number of Americans killed in gun homicides on Christmas Day is comparable to the number of people killed in gun homicides in an entire year in places like Australia or Britain, and equal to the total number of people killed in gun homicides in an entire year in Austria, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Estonia, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Iceland, combined.”
Gun violence in the United States on Christmas Day pic.twitter.com/0BNZqHOnJh
— Bernie 4 Prez (@Berninitup) December 29, 2015
The Sydney newspaper also noted that on average, the U.S. sees about 36 gun fatalities and 73 gun injuries each day, and those figures do not include people who shot themselves, either accidentally or during attempts at self-harm, such as suicide attempts.
Once Saint Cloud police complete their investigation of the shooting, the evidence will be turned over to the Florida Attorney General. The Attorney General will have the final say on whether or not criminal charges are filed.
[Image via Shutterstock/Kirill Demechenko]