ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The Dougherty District Attorney says he will not file criminal charges against the parents of a 13-year old South Albany girl who was shot and killed by her mentally disabled 15-year old brother last night in their home.
The parents tried to protect their kids, but they installed a gun lock on a rifle improperly and it didn't work. Investigators say it's a tragic accident.
13 year old Lejuawlard Lunsford was known as "Love" by everyone, and her family and school teachers and friends say that named described her perfectly. Neither parent was home about 7 last night, when 15 year old Thomas Lunsford fired the rifle, and hit Love in the neck. She died on the way to the hospital. Today family and friends were gathered around her parents, who are counting on faith to help them with their grief.
Thomas and Weaujel Lunsford say their daughter Love gave out love to everyone who knew her.
Waujel Lunsford said "She loved by plenty. She loved by her giggles. Everytime you see her she smile and giggles."
A 7th grader at Radium Middle School, Love was described as a star on the track team.
Thomas Lunsford said "She didn't care if you were having a bad day or not, she was going to do something to put a smile on your face."
Love died from a single rifle shot to the neck in her family's South Jackson living room. 15 year old Thomas Lunsford, who parents and Investigators describe as mentally disabled, got his father's 7 millimeter rifle from his parents' room, and fired it once in the hall. Investigators say the rifle still had a gun lock locked on it when it was fired, but the lock was installed improperly in front of the trigger, not behind it.
Albany Police Chief John Proctor said her death appears to be a tragic accident.
Proctor said "The parents tried to secure the weapons but unfortunately it didn't do, secure it as good as it should have been. The kids got ahold of them, and this incident occurred."
Lunsford said "I didn't know that the gun wasn't secure like it's supposed to be. I just don't know what led him to want to play with it. I still don't have the answer."
The Lunsfords say they are getting support from family, friends, even people they don't know in the community. 15 year old Thomas is home with his family.
Lunsford said "it really didn't dawn on him what happened, or what was going on."
The parents say they are doing their best to be strong, assured that Love was truly loved by everyone who knew her, and today misses her.