Another day, another accidental shooting. This time, a 14-year-old girl in Colorado Springs was shot by her stepfather early this morning as she tried to sneak back into her house.
The teen was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital.
Few details have yet emerged about this latest tragedy, but the shooting reportedly took place just before 6 am Monday morning inside a home on the 4000 block of Ascendant Drive in northeast Colorado Springs, off North Carefree Circle and Peterson Road, a local Fox News affiliate reports.
Police have not released the names of the teenage victim or her stepfather, who shot and killed her. The house where the horrific mistake occurred is owned by Jason and Michelle Kneupper, who bought it in 2004, according to research by The Gazette, a newspaper in Colorado Springs.
The best picture of what happened to so far emerge is that the teen girl may have been climbing into the house through a window from outside, perhaps attempting to sneak back in without any other family members being aware.
Her stepfather believed that a burglar was coming in through the window and opened fire. Neighbors reported hearing three shots.
"The initial call came in as a burglary-in-progress," said Colorado Springs police spokesperson Larry Herbert.
Why the stepfather fired at the supposed "burglar" even after calling the police is one of the many aspects of the heartbreaking case not yet clear.
According to one neighbor, high school student Michelle Harvey, the neighborhood is safe and quiet.
"My mom heard three shots this morning and police were here just minutes after it happened," said the 17-year-old Harvey. "I would never imagine something like this would happen here."
But things like this happen all the time. The day before Thanksgiving, in Chickamauga, Georgia, 72-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer Ronald Westbrook wandered out of his house in the early morning hours, got lost and knocked on the door of a home that he apparently thought was his, according to an Associated Press report.
It wasn't. In fact it belonged to 34-year-old Joe Hendrix who promptly shot and killed the confused Westbrook.
That was just one example. In another, earlier this month, as reported in USA Today, 16-year-old Aubrey Peters was shot to death accidentally in Noblesville, Indiana, but a friend who pointed a gun at her and pulled the trigger, thinking it was empty.
In fact, according to statistics compiled by the group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, while most people who keep guns in their homes say they do so for self-defense, guns in the home are four times more often involved in accidental shootings than in against actual threats to a homeowner's life or property.
From 2005 to 2010, nearly 3,800 Americans perished as the result of unintentional shootings.