Woman shoots 4-year-old in chest, says she was teaching gun safety, TN officials say

A Tennessee woman told investigators she was teaching a 4-year-old gun safety when she shot and killed the young girl, officials say.

Breanna Gayle Runions, 25, was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse neglect or endangerment 8 or less, according to arrest records from the Roane County Sheriffs Office.

Warrants obtained by McClatchy News say Runions told investigators she was teaching the child gun safety during the incident on Aug. 27. Runions emptied the magazine to demonstrate the gun was safe without it, according to the warrant. Then Runions pointed the gun at the young girl’s chest and pulled the trigger.

The gun fired, killing the young girl.

Another woman and child witnessed the shooting, warrants say. An adult woman told investigators she was sitting on the bed in the same room and watched Runions take out her handgun, empty the magazine and put the gun to the girl’s chest.

She said she looked away and heard the gun fire, according to the warrant.

The other child in the room told investigators she saw the 4-year-old girl get shot, the warrant says. She said the bullet hit a bottle and sent shards of glass in her direction.

The arrest warrant said the two children were being punished for not following rules. Runions hit the children with a sandal and told them to stand in the corner of her bedroom as punishment, according to the warrant.

Ninth District Attorney General Russell Johnson said Runions and the other adult woman in the home are not the girl’s parents, according to WBIR. Investigators are looking into why the girl was living at the home in Rockwood, Tennessee, Johnson said.

Johnson said Runions had a handgun permit, WVLT reported. She is accused of shooting the girl with her Taurus Millennium 9mm handgun.

She is being held in jail on $1.5 million bond, jail records show.

Rockwood is about 135 miles southeast of Nashville.

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