SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The life of six-year-old A'letha Burke taken in a instant. The child found a gun in the living room of her babysitter's home, and it discharged, shooting A'letha in the right shoulder, according to authorities. She later died at Central Florida Regional Hospital.
"She picked up the firearm, and it accidentally discharged and resulted in a devastating consequence," says Bianca Gillett, spokesperson for the Sanford Police Department. "Firearm ownership, there's a responsibility there. As the owner of a firearm you need to store it securely and away from juveniles. We owe them that, to protect them and keep them safe."
On Tuesday night, A'letha was left in the care of Erik Williams. Police describe Williams as a family member. He is a convicted felon, now charged with child neglect with great bodily harm, and unsafe storage of a firearm.
Little A'letha went to Wicklow Elementary. Grief counselors will be available there all week. The Sanford Police Chief called the accident careless. It is the second time in as many weeks that a child has been injured or killed by a gun. Just last week, a 3-year-old girl in Sanford shot herself in the hand. With the two incidents happening a week apart, Sanford Police decided to take action, and educate their community.
"We're going to have a gun safety class for parents and children, about an hour-long, all tailored to those children, that if they see a gun, they need to stop, turn around, and tell a grown up," Gillett said.
That Parent/Child safety class will be held Wednesday March 9, at 4 p.m.