The Missouri parents of a 6-year-old girl are devastated after learning she was accidentally shot and killed by her older brother Friday while they were attending a Christmas party.
Maliyah Palmer, of Florissant, was shot in the head with a 9mm handgun that her 12-year-old brother found in their parent’s bedroom drawer.
At the time of the shooting, Maliyah and her brother were being watched by their 16-year-old sister, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Police were called to the home around 11 p.m. Friday. Maliyah was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“Investigators have determined that this was a tragic accident and no charges will be filed at this time,” Florissant police Officer Steve Michael said in an initial press statement.
However, on Monday, Police Chief Timothy Lowery said any and all charges will be announced after prosecutors review the findings done by investigators.
“You couldn’t have written a more tragic script, the whole thing is just so tragic and terrible, but we have to put our personal feelings aside and do the law enforcement side of this,” Lowery in a statement to the Post-Dispatch.
According to Lowery, the unidentified 16-year-old girl was watching her younger siblings when the 12-year old boy found the 9mm handgun. Maliyah was near her brother when the gun was discharged.
“All of the officers who responded to the scene are mothers and fathers, so you can only imagine how personal it is to see a child shot in the back of the head. We will have counselors here for a debriefing hopefully this week to make sure the mental state of our officers is OK,” Lowery added.
Maliyah was a first-grader at Green Trails Elementary School in Chesterfield. In a letter to parents, principal Rene Sommers said the school was working with Annie’s Hope, a bereavement center for young people.
“Our goal will be to keep the day and routine normal,” Sommers said in her letter. “We will share the news honestly and openly so that understanding, processing, grieving and healing can begin.”