Grovetown 13-year-old accidentally killed in Halloween shooting

14-year-old classmate charged

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 10:47 AM
Last updated Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 1:48 AM
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A 14-year-old Grovetown Middle School pupil has been charged in the Halloween shooting death of a 13-year-old classmate.

Kristen Burnett, 13, died at her home in Grovetown.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Kristen Burnett, 13, died at her home in Grovetown.

Kristen Burnett, 13, was pronounced dead about 11:15 p.m. in her home in the 5000 block of Reynolds Way, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.

A 14-year-old boy, who was not identified, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for accidentally shooting her with a shotgun, Grovetown Department of Public Safety Capt. Donovan Jones said. He’s being held in the Regional Youth Detention Center.

“It’s carelessness with a firearm,” Grovetown Chief Gary Owens said. “These kids are friends. There’s no maliciousness. It is just a senseless tragedy.”

Burnett and three friends were hanging out at her house, Collins said. The victim’s mother, Miriam Lunsford, was not home and her stepfather, Steven Lunsford Jr., is an Army soldier deployed to Afghanistan.

The 14-year-old boy went looking through the house and found a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with double-aught shells in the master bedroom.

“She was sitting in a chair in the dining room at her laptop,” Collins said. “She was struck in the head by the projectiles from the shotgun.”

The boy “accidentally discharged” the gun in the den and hit Burnett in the dining room 22-25 feet away, Jones said.

“If there’s a firearm at the house, it needs a gun lock on it,” Collins said. “It’s so inexpensive when it comes you your child’s life or anybody’s life.”

The investigation is ongoing, Owens said.

Grief counselors were at Grovetown Middle School on Thursday to help pupils deal with Burnett’s death.

“Our heart goes out to the family and the school children,” Owens said.

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Mrswkc2001
67
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Mrswkc2001 11/01/12 - 10:57 am
3
0
Awful

I cannot even imagine the grief this family is feeling. If the name of the young man who shot her is supposed to be protected (which I agree with), why did wrdw.com include it in their article?

MilitaryWifey3
7
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MilitaryWifey3 11/01/12 - 11:12 am
2
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Prayers

I really hate hearing anyone losing a Child. My child goes to that school ; I'm sure she's very Upset about this. Kids already have so many questions about death around this age. It's just scary to even think about losing a Child. I hope Family makes it out to her for support Quickly , being a Military Family in all. They are most likely not from here.

Fiat_Lux
15677
Points
Fiat_Lux 11/01/12 - 11:36 am
10
3
The key to ending this kind of tragedy

is to make sure that children from about age 9 up are taught what they need to know about firearms, including how to secure them, and the damage they are capable of doing when handled inappropriately.

Even families that don't have any guns and hate them should get this training for their children, especially their boys. Boys from about age 12 until mid to late 20s generally think they know everything and that they are immortal. And guns are fascinating to most of them, even if they haven't a clue about how to handle them safely, all the more if their parents have tried to keep prevent them from any access to them.

And what parent wouldn't train their child from a very early age that you simply have no right to go prying in other people's homes, especially in adults' bedrooms? Accident or not, this boy was so far out of line it is hard to imagine how he doesn't already have a record.

LillyfromtheMills
13510
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LillyfromtheMills 11/01/12 - 12:35 pm
3
0
OMG

So sorry!

TrulyWorried
14535
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TrulyWorried 11/01/12 - 12:59 pm
6
1
To Fiat_Lux

I believe you are getting ahead of yourself with the bottom part of your comment.
Nothing but sympathy should go to the girl's family and also to the boy's - they cannot get their daughter back and his life has changed forever and it is truly sad.

Mr. Thackeray
942
Points
Mr. Thackeray 11/01/12 - 01:10 pm
8
2
AAQueen
18
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AAQueen 11/01/12 - 01:12 pm
3
0
What an awful tragedy. When

What an awful tragedy. When the police went pass my house lst night it never entered my mind that this was the awful outcome. My prayers for both families and the children in our division.

Heidi Jo
19
Points
Heidi Jo 11/01/12 - 01:19 pm
8
3
Ashamed

I know everyone is so quick to want to point fingers and JUDGE. Accidents happen daily just not in Grovetown, GA. People get shot while hunting, fishing, boating, driving, etc. These are good kids. 2 families lives were destroyed last night. Everyone hides behind their fake little id's and posts senseless heartless thoughts on here. You have NO idea how you would act if your perfect parenting was jeapordized or your perfect child was put in a situation like this. I bet you wouldn't be so quick to judge OR so quick to put the young mans name for the world to see as your comment Frank I.

whyme
1862
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whyme 11/01/12 - 01:59 pm
4
1
one more time

Keep the negative comments and speculations to yourselves. Period.

Itsallnew11
547
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Itsallnew11 11/01/12 - 02:02 pm
5
1
Many Prayers...

In the face of tragedy the last thing we as the public need to do is judge this kid. Regardless of it being accidental or malicious this kid has to live with his thoughtless action for the rest of his life. Ye who is perfect shall be the judge and God has already held court on this one and given forgiveness. I am not a perfect parent and heaven forbid my children ever do something I raised them to not do. It doesn't mean that I am a bad parent it means they made a decision and they have to live with the consequenses, good or bad, for the rest of their lives and so would I. My prayers go out to the families because there wasn't just one life lost last night there were two, one physical body and one emotional and mental being. God Bless you all.

specsta
6507
Points
specsta 11/01/12 - 04:05 pm
5
9
Tragedy

Another senseless tragedy - the pain this family must feel is unimaginable. Condolences to all.

That being said, let's get down to brass tacks -

At some point, people must realize and understand that if you are in possession of a firearm, at some point that firearm is going to be used - and you will either kill another human being or they will use it to kill you or you will kill yourself. It will not be used for a fun time, for lively conversation or to invoke warm memories. It will be used to kill. If you cannot accept that fact, do not own, purchase or keep a firearm in your home or on your person.

I know the Second Amendment worshipers and the NRA crowd will try to beat me down with my statement, but every year, 30,000 people die by firearm each year in this country (according to the CDC). That's 30,000 too many.

Grace422
239
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Grace422 11/01/12 - 04:25 pm
4
1
This makes the 2nd time this year

that an accident just like this has happen in Grovetown. Parents sit up and take notice. Teach your childern gun safety, Lock up your guns, and most importantly keep an eye on your childern. Hope you all realize that when someone else childern are at your home, they are in YOUR care, custody and control which means your are responsible for them. Dont want that then send them home. I was not counting Aaron Schmidt as the 1st occurance either if you include him in the recent Grovetown under age shootings this makes the 3rd time.

justputtin
1414
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justputtin 11/01/12 - 04:38 pm
7
0
Very sad

Terrible tragedy. Parents, please secure your weapons. I am so sorry for the loss of this precious girl.

JoeDaddy808
7
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JoeDaddy808 11/01/12 - 06:03 pm
5
1
Prayer

This is a horrible tragedy! Please pray for everyone involved. No finger pointing, no assumptions, no accusations, please. I know these children. They are good kids. This is a horrible accident and I can only imagine what Kristen's parents are going through right now. Please, even for those of you who haven't done it in a while, Pray. All who comment, please provide support for this family and all of the children involved.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 11/01/12 - 08:13 pm
0
1
There's something
Unpublished

terribly wrong with Grovetown.

myfather15
55725
Points
myfather15 11/02/12 - 12:09 am
2
0
Absolutely horrible news. I

Absolutely horrible news. I pray both families find peace. Having 7 and 5 year old daugthers, I can't imagine getting this news. May God's grace be with you.

myfather15
55725
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myfather15 11/02/12 - 12:37 am
6
5
@specsta

You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. Just because YOU don't have any fond memories that include firearms, doesn't mean other don't so please don't try to speak for everyone. Some of my fondest memories are going hunting and shooting with my dad before he died of cancer in 1987.

You said "At some point, people must realize and understand that if you are in possession of a firearm, at some point that firearm is going to be used - and you will either kill another human being or they will use it to kill you or you will kill yourself. It will not be used for a fun time, for lively conversation or to invoke warm memories. It will be used to kill. If you cannot accept that fact, do not own, purchase or keep a firearm in your home or on your person."

This statement is so absurd, I don't even know where to begin. I own many firearms and have many that were passed down from my dad. NONE of them have EVER taken another human beings life, EVER. Leave it to a liberal to use such a tradgedy to spout their hatred for guns. But this statement is absolutey mind boggling. You think you are smarter than people who are pro-guns, but you spout this stuff without a single shred of evidence to back up your point. How can you prove that everyones gun WILL be used to take a human life in some way? YOU CAN'T because thats absolutely NOT TRUE!!

Matter of fact, a very good friend of mine, who is a nurse and lived in Grovetown, saved his and his families life last year with an assault rifle. 5 armed thugs broke into his house last year. He ran them off with an semi-automatic assault rifle. They were caught and during the interview, they admitted the plan was to break into the house and kill everyone within. So, he saved several lives with this firearm that you would BAN him from possessing. People on here probably heard about this story, it was all over the news.

Also, there are approximately 38,000 deaths yearly from automobile accidents. Maybe we should ban cars or at least cars that go over 35 mph which greatly increase your chance of getting seriously injured in an accident. 500,000 people die of cancer every year, so maybe we should completely ban tobacco products (even in peoples own homes) or ANY product that MAY cause cancer. About 1 million people have died while taking part in extreme sports. So maybe we should ban rock climbing, bungee jumping, cliff diving, sky diving, motocross, Baja, ect. Maybe we should just ban people from doing anything stupid, that sounds better and makes about as much sense as banning guns, lets do it!!

Bottom line is, hate guns absolutely ALL YOU WANT. But don't attempt to tell me and others what kind of memories we can build together. Matter of fact, when my daughters are age appropriate, I can't wait to take them hunting and build some wonderful memories, just as I did with my dad. Don't try to impress your gun hating agenda onto others because there was a tragic accident with a firearm. But thanks for the stats.

shrimp for breakfast
5457
Points
shrimp for breakfast 11/02/12 - 12:45 am
4
0
My condolences to the family

I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of all involved. May you find peace.

F4therTime
4656
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F4therTime 11/02/12 - 01:19 am
4
4
my father15
Unpublished

200 thumbs up. Nothing worse than a liberal gun hater that doesn't know what they are talking about. I also was raised in a hunting household and raised my kids the same way. Education about firearms is the key.

specsta
6507
Points
specsta 11/02/12 - 01:25 am
3
4
@myfather15, Please tell me

@myfather15,

Please tell me where in my comment I declared there should be a ban on guns. I said that if you own a firearm, you need to understand that the end result of owning that firearm is death. Whether it is animals or human beings, firearms serve no other purpose other than to kill. If you decide to own such an instrument, you must understand this fact.

Automobiles are not created for the sole purpose of crashing into other cars or to kill other drivers. Nor does anyone undertake an extreme sport for the sole purpose of killing themselves nor does anyone deliberately get themselves addicted to nicotine. Your comparison is flawed. Firearms have the sole purpose of discharging a bullet to enact lethal destruction on its target.

soapy_725
43686
Points
soapy_725 11/02/12 - 06:52 am
1
0
This senseless tragedy will fade
Unpublished

as do the senseless tragedies of DUI homicides. Another innocent life is wasted because of irresponsibility. Is human life precious? There is an instant outcry, a lot of posturing, but no preventive action. No paradigm change. Americans are desensitized to so many tragic occurrences by constant media propaganda and glorified violence..

Does anyone believe that this youth did not know that guns kill? That all guns are presumed loaded? That you never point a gun at anything you do not wish to kill? Maybe he does not understand death? If this is so, he does not need to be unsupervised. Yes, he knew the potential for harm. He made a decision that will hopefully change his life for good.

WAG
287
Points
WAG 11/02/12 - 07:32 am
6
1
OMG I know yall are not using

OMG I know yall are not using this to argue.... This baby girl is gone forever! Please pray for both families.... My heart hurts for them....Lives forever changed.....No loss like the loss of a child....stop argueing!

concernmom
403
Points
concernmom 11/02/12 - 08:17 am
4
0
gun locks

This is a terrible, horrible situation for both families that could have been avoided with a gun lock: inexpensive, saves lives & prevents accidents.
Furthermore, a locked gun cabinet to store the gun (with lock on it) should be mandatory for homes with children younger than 16 when you purchase a firearm...or at least the gun lock!! I hate more laws, but some folks must be forced into making common sense decisions, i.e. fence around pools...

Little Lamb
46405
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Little Lamb 11/02/12 - 09:27 am
4
0
Good?

Heidi Jo posted:

These are good kids.

I don't know. I'm not so sure it is good to go snooping in the bedroom of your friend's mom. I'm not so sure it is good to invite male friends over to a 13-year-old girl's house when the mom is not home.

Heidi Jo
19
Points
Heidi Jo 11/02/12 - 09:48 am
3
2
Really Little Lamb?

Just to make it clear I am mother of 3 teenagers in this neighborhood. Very frequently all the kids hang out at each others homes boys and girls combined. Yes there is adult supervision as well. It is pretty normal these days. You don't know the whole story. Her mom may have just ran to the store, maybe she was helping a neighbor with a sick child. This is a neighborhood of mostly military members as well as police officers and firefighters... not a neighborhood full of reckless youth... everyone is so quick to act like they are the perfect parent all the time when something happens to someone else so like I said before: may your perfect children never do anything wrong and may they never jeaopardize your "perfect" parenting... PRAYERS TO BOTH OF THESE FAMILIES!! (As far as the snooping thing, their teenagers they don't always follow the rules like I am sure you did when you were a perfect teenager Little Lamb and perhaps you are one of these "perfect" parents as well)

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 11/02/12 - 10:04 am
4
0
Not Good

Thanks for responding, Heidi Jo, and I read your comment carefully and considered it. I occasionally did some snooping when I was a teenager. I was not good. I still make mistakes today. I am not good.

That was my point up above. Those teenagers are (were, in the case of the victim) not good. None of us are.

KSL
131298
Points
KSL 11/02/12 - 10:38 am
4
2
Little Lamb, I was going to

Little Lamb, I was going to say the same thing. I was not allowed to have boys over without adult supervision.

Fiat is correct, as well.

rbndawn
37
Points
rbndawn 11/02/12 - 11:20 am
1
1
Not the time and place.

So many things to say... there is a time for everything in life and right now is not the time but other to express condolences to all the ones involved. Hope God give them all the strenght to go thru this.

Mr_Chin
47
Points
Mr_Chin 11/02/12 - 03:15 pm
4
0
Concerning valid questions

Why is now not the time to ask valid questions of why the kid was rumaging through the house, etc? This is a teachable moment to all teenagers to not go through other folks' homes and if they find a weapon,etc....leave it there.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 11/02/12 - 03:27 pm
0
0
Heidi Jo said:

Just to make it clear I am mother of 3 teenagers in this neighborhood. Very frequently all the kids hang out at each others homes boys and girls combined. Yes there is adult supervision as well. It is pretty normal these days. You don't know the whole story. Her mom may have just ran to the store, maybe she was helping a neighbor with a sick child.

The paper indicated the mother was not home and it was apparently around 11:15 P.M. on a school night. That is kinda late don't you think to be running around to a store? And why wouldn't she take them with her then?

No one was saying they were perfect children or perfect parents. People here just are making observations like we do on everything.

I would assume that people should know by now not to have loaded weapons where children are in the house can get access to them.

I was no angel, but I never looked in any of my friend's parents room or even looked around in my friend's things. I was brought up in a different generation apparently. I never thought about guests coming to my house and going through my room either..till now.

This is not condeming or placing blame. But stating what to me should be common sense facts by now. Just as in the case of parents leaving their babies and children in a hot car, alone. Why does that keep happening?

Why do people keep thinking things won't happen to them? Why are they expecting children to make mature decisions when they are children and have not been taught any differently?

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