A devastating incident occurred in Cumberland when a 5-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 4-year-old sister, Deor Neita, inside their family apartment on Wednesday afternoon. The children’s mother, Melody Neita, is now grieving the loss of her daughter while coping with the trauma of the situation. Melody briefly spoke to 13News on Thursday but was overwhelmed with grief.
Melody shared a family photo taken just a few days prior on July 4, capturing the happiness of her children. Deor had recently celebrated her fourth birthday and was described by her mother as a loving and sweet child.
Recalling the last interaction with her daughter, Melody said that Deor had said goodbye and expressed her love before Melody went back to work. A few hours later, Melody received a devastating call from her grandmother, informing her of Deor’s tragic death.
According to Cumberland Police Chief Suzanne Crooke-Woodland, Deor’s great-grandmother was watching five children, all under the age of six, at the apartment. While changing a baby’s diaper downstairs, the investigators believe that Deor’s brother found a loaded 9 mm handgun in an upstairs bedroom dresser drawer and accidentally shot his sister.
The children have been placed in protective custody until they can be interviewed by detectives alongside child advocates. Melody expressed that she was unaware of the presence of a gun in the apartment. She and her children reside with the great-grandmother, and the police suspect that the father of the 2-month-old child also occasionally stays at the apartment, possibly bringing other adults with him.
The tweet below shows the image of the 4Yo:
UPDATE: I talked to the mother of 4-year-old Deor Neita, who was shot & killed by her 5-year-old brother in their Cumberland Apartment. https://t.co/crCpcMlpyE
— Rich Nye (@RichNye13) July 7, 2023
Authorities are awaiting test results to determine who handled the gun, which will help identify the owner. In light of this tragic incident, the Cumberland Police are urging everyone to store their firearms securely, out of reach of children.
Cumberland Police Chief Suzanne Crooke-Woodland expressed her hope that people would take these tragedies seriously and take extra precautions in securing their firearms. Free gun locks are available at the Cumberland Police Department and Marion County Public Library branches to assist with safe storage.
State Representative Mitch Gore, who is also a captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, emphasized the importance of responsible gun storage. While supporting the Second Amendment, he believes that individuals should be held accountable if their negligence in gun storage leads to harm or death. Gore has introduced legislation addressing this issue multiple times, aiming to enforce safe storage practices when firearms are not in use.
This heartbreaking incident serves as a stark reminder of the need for responsible firearm ownership and storage to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.
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