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Wounded Boy's Mom Pleads for Gun Safety

Posted November 30, 2007

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— The mother of a Hoke County boy who was accidentally shot in the head by his friend two weeks ago on Friday urged parents to practice gun safety at home.

Tyler Mathew Marshall, 9, and his 10-year-old sister were playing at the Raeford home of a 10-year-old friend on Nov. 15 when the friend pulled a .25-caliber handgun from a drawer and began to play with it.

The gun went off, and Tyler was shot in the head. He remains in critical condition at WakeMed in Raleigh.

"There was a lot of damage to the core of his brain," said his mother, Cindy Marshall.

Every night since the shooting, Marshall has sat by her son's bed in the WakeMed intensive care unit and read stories to him, hoping he will hear her voice.

"He has surprised me that he lasted this long. They really didn't think he would," she said.

Tyler has been heavily sedated, and doctors plan to wean him off pain medication in the coming days to see if he regains consciousness.

The parents of the 10-year-old friend, Heath Dwayne Kinney, 35, and Loriann Kinney, 41, have been charged with a misdemeanor offense of selling or giving a weapon to a minor.

Marshall said gun safety should be a concern for every parent.

"I just urge everyone to be careful with them. Get trigger locks (or) do whatever you can to keep them safe from the kids," she said.

From 2000 to 2004, 359 children in North Carolina died from gunshot wounds. Twenty-five of those were classified as accidental, while the rest were suicides or homicides.

"Spend as much time with your kids as you can because it can change in the blink of an eye," Marshall said. "I don't know if I'll ever get to hear him tell me he loves me or hug me."

Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin has said the charges against the Kinneys could be upgraded to felony offenses if Tyler dies.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Ming033 Dec 2, 2007

    I think that everyone has made some valid points. However it does not change the fact, we as parents are responsible when someones child comes to visit. Just as we need to be aware if the child is allergic to something and we should not offer it. It is horrible that this young mother is having to go thru this whatsoever. Yes the parents are responsible, a loaded gun should NEVER be easily assesible and that is all there is to it. By being irresponsible the actions of the parents have affected both families. Is this sad, will we always have different views about this, of course. BUT, it would be completely a different story if this was your young, precious and loving child. I pray for him and his family. Life is too precious and no one would want to be in this situation.

  • msstokes Dec 2, 2007

    They offer free trigger lock at most Police Stations and some Fire Stations. They are free and they ask no questions.

  • Ripcord Dec 1, 2007

    "America needs gun control."

    The US already has over 22,000 gun laws. How many more do we need? The problem isn't 'lack of laws'. The problem is lack of training.

    Gun control isn't about guns. It's about control.

  • boysmom Dec 1, 2007

    Another idea that might be helpful - I have always made it a practice to ask the parents of any of my kids' friends "Do you keep a handgun in your home?" before I let them visit. If they answer "yes" I ask how they keep it safely away from kids. I've always been answered very positively and some have even thanked me for giving them the idea to ask. If any parent ever gets "attitude" about me asking, I'll know it's not somewhere I want my kids playing anyway. I'm praying also for this family.

  • sparkleyvalentineangel Dec 1, 2007

    Sad situation for all involved.

  • oldrebel Dec 1, 2007

    re: "...and another two or three [children] who were killed playing with a mortar shell..." All the more reason parents should keep their mortar shells locked up and out of sight of the kids.

  • hdsoftail Dec 1, 2007

    I agree the parents should be more responsible, and with safety with any weapon. But the gun just didnt go off. The trigger was pulled. WRAL continues to print stories where the gun goes off. That dosent happen.

  • Ban One Dec 1, 2007

    Anita tucker,

    "America Needs Gun Laws". This makes absolutely no since. America HAS gun laws, it just NEEDS to enforce them.

    A crime was committed here and the parents have been charged. What else do you want? It was truly an accident. Could it have been avoided with a trigger lock? Probably. But I bet the parents that own the gun are truly remorseful. Now that doesn't help the poor child in ICU but at the same time they shouldn't be tarred and feathered either.

    I have many guns and hunt often. My kids have been raised around them and have been taught how to handle and shoot them. Teach your kids as well as adopt safety measures in your home and this kinda of thing will drastically reduce.

    As someone else mentioned Gun Safety Courses are offered all the time. Check it out!!

  • Arbi Dec 1, 2007

    9 and 10 year olds are old enough to understand the dangers of firearms. if parents are going to have firearms in the home they need to show the youngsters how dangerous they can be. let them hold the firearms, go out and let them shoot it, let them see home powerfull it is and make sure they understand never to pay with it.

  • mvnull Dec 1, 2007

    "Growing up in the fifties and sixties, I was exposed to loaded guns being "readily available", yet I don't recall any instances of accidents due to children "playing" with those guns." I also grew up in the 50s and 60s. In my small town, we had three or four kids who were wounded playing with guns and another two or three who were killed playing with a mortar shell. Even so, I agree that gun education is lacking today; and more people are scared and feel that guns mean protection.