Noelle Aston Shawver died on a day that started with an afternoon of fun. The 5-year-old was playing with a young boy when he accidentally shot her around 3 p.m. on Wednesday. She died at the hospital later that night. The Spread It shared the details of this tragic story on Aug. 2.
On Wednesday, Noelle and her parents, Drew and Stacie “Udy” Shawver, went to the home of a family friend. The adults in the home left Noelle and their 5-year-old son alone to play in one room of the house, and the adults went to talk in the next room. Police have not yet revealed how the unnamed little boy gained access to the gun. One of the adults that lived in the home owned the gun. Police are not revealing any details about the case because it is still under investigation.
When the adults heard the gun shot, they immediately called the police and paramedics. Emergency services then took Noelle to Portneuf Medical Center. She arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident, and doctors at the hospital pronounced her dead a few minutes later. Police are not charging the boy or the family for the shooting. Instead, they are calling it a "sad accident." Kaeley Shawver, the aunt of the young girl, echoed that sentiment. The family is not blaming the little boy or the family for the accidental shooting.
The Shawver family plans to bury Noelle on Wednesday. A fund for the burial costs was set up, and the family received $20,000 in donations in just one day, according to The Christian Post. The fund continued to take donations after the initial requested amount of $15,000 was reached. A statement on the donation site made by Patrina Udi said the following:
"Your generosity is simply amazing! We are near our goal but I don't want to stop there. Please keep donating as the family will incur several other expenses ie. medical, time off work, counseling and such. Every dollar is greatly appreciated!"
Noelle is not the only child to die from an accidental shooting recently. A boy in Wichita, Kansas shot himself in the chest after he found the gun in the house. His mother and her boyfriend were asleep at the time of the incident. This shooting happened on Tuesday, and it is the second accidental shooting involving children in recent month. A 19-month-old toddler was accidentally shot and killed after the three other children in the home found the gun located in the house. That shooting happened on April, according to The Wichita Eagle.
These stories are just three of many. Children that die because of an accidental shooting are not rare. According to The Huffington Post, a study released earlier this year revealed that 100 children died because of accidental shootings in the year following the tragedy of Sandy Hook. Everytown for Gun Safety released this study. The organization is asking for better gun laws involving access by children. John Feinblatt, the president of the organization, said the following about the need for more legislation in this area:
"There is no question when you look around the country you see a real patchwork of laws having to deal with child access, and yet we have research that is compelling that laws that impose criminal sanctions are effective. We only have to look towards the drunk driving movement. ... It decreased and deterred people from drunk driving, which obviously we have come to accept as dangerous. And we need to come to the same acceptance."
It is too late to save Noelle Shawver. Do you think there needs to be more legislation in this area? Would it prevent the deaths of other children due to accidental shootings?