BERNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — The Amish community near Berne is mourning, after an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed by one of his siblings.
“This was 100% preventable,” Sgt. Troy Habegger from the Adams County Sheriff’s Department says.
He admits the shooting is a tough one.
“I do have a daughter, so it does, it really hits home whenever something like this happens,” he says.
Investigators say Wednesday afternoon, 11-year-old Sam Girod was shot once in the torso by a sibling who’s also a minor.
The boy died before help could get there.
“You could tell it was very hard on the family, the entire family. There was a huge amount of community support there as it was still being investigated. It hit the whole community, I believe,” Habegger says.
It’s not clear whether that sibling is older or younger than Sam, or why they were handling what’s believed to be a long gun, not a handgun.
What is clear, Sgt. Habegger says, is that gun owners need to ensure that firearms are kept secured and well out of reach of children.
“It is very important to protect yourself, protect your home. Have a safe beside your bed, have it actually in a safe where you can have access to it and only you have access to it. Just make sure it’s in a secure location where kids cannot get to it,” he says.
He says you should also teach children never to point a gun at anything they don’t intend to shoot.
People in Berne are devastated by the boy’s death, and say gun safety is key to preventing a tragedy like this.
“Especially around here in a rural community, there’s a lot of hunters. A lot of people value the right to own guns, and I feel like that is their right. But, yes, if there’s children in the home, they need to be locked up. It needs to be safe,” Lisa Wanner tells us.
“I think if you’re going to have them in the home, they definitely need to be locked up and with a key that is not accessible to young children. So hide the key somewhere or put it where they can’t reach, something like that,” Jennifer Reusser says.
The Adams County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the shooting, but the Adams County Sheriff says the name of the sibling who shot Sam Girod will not be released.