Family seeks answers after 7-year-old killed in accidental shooting

Juliet Noel Lynch was killed Saturday during a family birthday party following an accidental shooting. (Source: Lynch Family)
Juliet Noel Lynch was killed Saturday during a family birthday party following an accidental shooting. (Source: Lynch Family)

GASTON, SC (WIS) - A 7-year-old girl was shot and killed at a birthday party Saturday and deputies say a 5-year-old pulled the trigger.

Lexington County Sheriff's deputies say a 5-year-old accidentally shot the girl, identified by her family as Juliet Noel Lynch, at about 8:40 p.m. Saturday at a home on Wild Bird Lane in Gaston.

Investigators say the 5-year-old went to the trunk of a car to get a toy gun and the child's mother did not know that her boyfriend's real gun was in the trunk, too. The real gun went off and the bullet penetrated the vehicle and fragments struck two kids who were playing in front of the car.

"The gun went off in the trunk of the car, went through the vehicle, and on the other side, there were some children playing -- a 7-year-old girl -- one of the bullet fragments hit her in the chest and she was killed and another bullet fragment hit a 5-year-old boy in his right arm," said Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.

Lynch's father, Corey Salley, said he heard loud noise and immediately ran to the scene.

"I said, 'Oh goodness,' and I wasn't thinking that someone could be shooting at a kid's birthday party. So I ran around front and that's the first thing I see is my daughter on the ground," said Corey. "I picked her up and I ran."

Corey and his wife, Priscilla Salley, rushed their daughter to the hospital.

"I dropped everything, all I heard was 'Juliet! Juliet! Juliet!' And then I saw her blood," said Priscilla.

While the family acknowledges it was an accident, they still have questions.

"Why would there be a gun at a kid's birthday party? And if you do got a gun, why don't you have safety on it, out of reach of a kid," asked Corey.

"I just want justice done. I can't blame the little boy. He's a kid himself, but the adults that were there, whoever had what gun, they need to go to jail."

Now mom and dad are working on telling Juliet's twin sister -- her other half isn't coming home.

"I told her no, she's in heaven," said Priscilla. "Jesus got her, she'll be alright."

Metts said criminal charges could be filed in the incident.

The wake for Juliet will be held on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Jones Funeral Home in West Columbia. The funeral will be held on Saturday at Gibson Cemetery also at 1 p.m.

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