DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta 4-year-old who accidentally shot herself died one day before starting pre-kindergarten, according to her family.
Kendal Lewis died Sunday night after police say she found a gun in her mother’s car. Police charged her mother, Kaelin Lewis, with cruelty to children charge.
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Channel 2′s Tom Jones went to the family’s home Monday, where family members said they were not ready to speak publicly about the child’s death. They did call it a horrible mistake.
In a GoFundMe set up to help with Kendal’s funeral expenses, family members described Kendal as lively and boisterous and said she was excited to start Pre-K on Monday.
That didn’t happen after police say the child found her mother’s gun in the backseat as they drove on Interstate 85 near North Druid Hills exit.
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People in the area where the shooting took place called it irresponsible.
“A child dies because of a parent’s irresponsibility? That’s not cool, man,” Vernez King said. “That’s not a good look.”
Patsy Turner, who has two young grandchildren, told Jones she couldn’t imagine how a parent could leave an unsecured gun in a car.
“Secure the gun,” Turner said. “You’re responsible. Secure the gun.”
Jones spoke with Daphne Jordan, a gun safety instructor who teaches classes on keeping guns safely stored and away from children. Jordan said no gun should be left lying around unsecured.
“If your gun is not on your person, it is not safe,” Jordan said.
Police said the investigation remains open. Lewis is supposed to make her first court appearance on Tuesday.
Family members have set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the child’s medical expenses.
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