No charges in pellet rifle fatality of PTC girl, 6

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A 6-year-old Peachtree City girl died shortly after noon Jan. 20 after being accidentally shot in the throat by her brother with a pellet rifle, Peachtree City police reports said. No charges are expected to be filed in the accident.

The “middle brother” was standing at a window in an upstairs bonus room and swung around with a pellet rifle in his hands when his sister, Ellie Nigro of a Teal Vista address in Planterra Ridge subdivision, entered the room, police reports said.

“He turned in the direction of his sister who was standing in the doorway to the hall when he discharged the pellet rifle in her direction,” the report said. “He stated that he did not know it was loaded and the round struck his sister. He stated that he then threw the rifle out of the window and ‘smashed’ it.”

A pellet rifle with a broken stock was found by police in the driveway.

The father called 911, according to the report released Tuesday and officers and firefighters arrived at approximately 12:26 p.m.

“Upon arrival, the child was unconscious and in very critical condition as a result of this wound,” said department spokesperson Rosanna Dove.  

With police units blocking intersections, fire department personnel rushed the girl to Piedmont Fayette Hospital where she died.

Dove said the pellet struck the front of the girl’s throat, adding that autopsy reports on the cause of death are pending.

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family as they cope with this unfortunate accident,” Dove said.

The first officer on the scene found the child lying on the kitchen floor. The officer found the girl to be breathing shallowly and somewhat responsive. “I held the hand that was above her head and it closed lightly around my hand,” the officer’s report said.

Officers at the scene indicated that they located a number of Airsoft guns, both rifles and pistols, in the residence along with a number of CO2 cartridges.

Reports said officers found numerous Airsoft rounds on the floor throughout the upstairs portion of the house along with an open container of pellets near a window and a plastic container of BBs on a table. Also located in both the bonus room and in a boy’s bedroom were hand-drawn targets that had damage consistent with being shot with a BB or Airsoft gun, according to police reports.

Reports also noted that the trees located across the driveway from the window had damage consistent with being struck with BBs and pellets and that the yard and driveway were littered with Airsoft pellets. A further notation in the report said that it appeared that the window screen in the upstairs playroom had been permanently removed to allow the discharge of the weapons into the tree line on the property, adding that a closer inspection of the trees and surrounding area confirmed this.

Dove said that while it is legal to own a pellet gun in Peachtree City, the ordinance pertaining to such weapons prohibits the firing of projectiles inside city limits.

An account has been set up at Delta Community Credit Union in Ellie Nigro’s name for people who would like to help with the funeral expenses.

The funeral service was held Jan. 24 at Dogwood Church.