Local News

Second child killed in pellet gun accident

Posted February 28, 2011

— For the second time in a week, a youngster in the Triangle has been killed in a pellet gun accident.

Alejandro Arroyo Mejia, 7, died Friday night at Wilson Medical Center after being shot in the chest, authorities said.

Melinda Mejia said her brothers, Alejandro and 4-year-old Ivan, were shooting cans with a pellet gun outside their home on Jaycross Road. She said the gun was a Christmas present for Alejandro, and Ivan cried because his brother wouldn't let him use it.

When Alejandro, a first-grader at Stantonsburg Elementary School, finally relented and handed the gun to his younger brother, the weapon went off, Melinda Mejia said.

Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard Jr. said the pellet gun involved in the shooting is recommended only for people age 18 and over.

"The parents buy (pellet guns) for their kids and basically give them to them. Buy the pellets, buy the BBs, send them outside and let them have fun," Woodard said. "As you can see, that fun turns into tragedy."

Investigators are trying to determine whether to file criminal charges against Alejandro's parents, he said.

Wilson County pellet gun Second child killed in pellet gun accident

A week ago, Ty-Rion Henry, 8, died after being shot with a pellet gun in his Raleigh home.

The boy's grandfather was checking to ensure the safety latch was engaged on the gun when it went off, striking him in the head, the family said.

No charges were filed in that shooting.

Raleigh police later warned the public about the design of such guns, noting the safety latch and trigger are next to each other.

Wilson County authorities said the gun in Alejandro's shooting has a similar design. The gun can be pumped up to 10 times to produce enough pressure to shoot a pellet at the same velocity as a .22-caliber handgun, they said.

It was unclear whether Alejandro or his brother had pumped the gun before it went off, authorities said.

Woodard said he would like to see Wilson County commissioners classify pump-action pellet guns as deadly weapons, as some other counties in North Carolina have done. That could lead to tighter restrictions on their use.

"I hope parents refrain from buying those types of weapons for kids. Even if it says for 10 years of age, I would wait until they are 18," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • bmhcmom Mar 2, 2011

    Just two days ago, a couple of older neighborhood boys( around 12 yrs. old), came over to my house with what I thought was a toy gun. They approached my fence and were talking with my son and his friends. Next thing I know my son comes inside because one of the boys was aiming his air rifle at them and fired a shot that went just past them. I went outside and the boys were gone and my son told me that he walked across the street and told one of the boy's father what they had done. A few minutes later, the boys walked back over and told my son they were sorry for aiming the gun at them. One of the boys, I know fairly well and he's a nice kid who I believe would not intentionally hurt anyone. His parents are also upstanding. So it seems to me that most people, including myself, truly did not realize just how dangerous these guns are. They need to make it illegal for minors to use these guns without a parent or guardian present and punishable by fines and/or jail time!

  • gomentmule Mar 2, 2011

    "thetater2" Your exactly correct in your statement. I was not raised around guns in my home but when I would visit my grandfather in VA who lived on a farm my uncle would take me out. Since then I have been involved with them, when I had kids first thing I did was get the information from the NRA and get a video tape (back then) of the guy from 90210. He showed and explained all firearm saftey and you know my kids were 3 and 6 and if anyone would ask them they would say and do what the show said. STOP, Don't Touch, Get an Adult I can still hear it. Now my son is a marksman my daughter also, both have the utmost respect as I do for them. IF YOU TEACH them early they will learn very quickly and everything in your statement is absoultly correct. It's just too bad there are so many "rich" people in the USA who wish to get rid of guns all together!! It's always a bad apple that will ruin a whole bushell.

  • gunny462 Mar 1, 2011

    "Fire is a naturally-ocurring phenomenom that we need to survive, while guns were created by humans to maim & kill.

    And hunt to provide food (meat) on the table back in the 1600s todate.

  • thetater2 Mar 1, 2011

    It's a sad thing when a human life is stopped short for any reason. However, after reading many responses on here I felt compelled enough to register to this site to state my opinion. Knowledge is the best form of prevention in almost any accident. I was raised around firearms and have a great amount of respect for them. I got my first gun at the age of four. My father was always present when I used it, teaching we the "do's and don'ts" from the start. He gradually loosened his grip and by the time I was eight or nine he allowed me to shoot a .22 rifle on my own. Granted, few people have the respect that I have for guns, but when I have kids I too will allow my child to start out with a bb gun and work his way up the totem pole. Guns founded this country, maintain our freedom and can easily destroy this country if there ever comes a time when it's necessary. This should send a message for parents to teach their children about gun safety, not a ploy to ban play guns

  • Vietnam Vet Mar 1, 2011

    With all the publicity over the first child's death you would think folks with similarly designed pellet rifles would have been more careful. It all comes down to proper guidance, training, and supervision by the parents, which apparently was lacking in this case. I never got my kids pellet rifles when they were growing up because I know that under the right circumstances they can be as deadly as a "real" gun. I started my kids with .22's and a lot of safety training and demonstrated to them just what a gun was capable of.

  • NC_Full-O-Bigots Mar 1, 2011

    The parents should be charged in his death. WRAL reported last night that the gun in question is designed for ages 18 and older. They might as well gave their 7yr the car keys and let him go joy riding. It's no different.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 1, 2011

    @Getright, it seems true that non-sentient things are neither good nor bad. That said, your comparison seems wanting.

    Fire is a naturally-ocurring phenomenom that we need to survive, while guns were created by humans to maim & kill.

  • capekidd Mar 1, 2011

    "Woodard said he would like to see Wilson County commissioners classify pump-action pellet guns as deadly weapons, as some other counties in North Carolina have done. That could lead to tighter restrictions on their use." Yeah, fat chance. What kind of parent lets a 7 year old and a 4 year old play with a gun, particularly a loaded gun? Too bad you don't have to complete a comprehensive written and oral examination to reproduce...

  • GetRight Mar 1, 2011

    I just bought my 9yr old son a BB gun. I got the lowest power one that shoots straight and he does not have access to it w/o me and never leaves my side when we're shooting it. He got his to learn firearm safety and marksmanship. People who do not learn proper gun safety are what make guns dangerous.

    Guns are like fire. they are both amoral: neither inherently good nor bad.

    By the way, if you are looking for a good 1st gun for a youngster to train him/her on, the Daisy Red Ryder is a good one. It shoots straight, only has iron sights, only shoots .177 BBs, can only be pumped/kokked once, shoots at 350fps and only costs $30. We set up empty water bottles I bring home from work as targets. Most of the time the BB knocks over the bottle w/o penetrating. Low power but good accuracy up to about 20 yards max.

  • JoeFreedom Mar 1, 2011

    "sort order: oldest first | newest first
    I'm not anti-guns. But who gives their 7 year old a gun for Christmas to begin with? And then allows him outside with 4 year old brother in tow to play with it unsupervised??"

    Right or wrong...probably way more people than you would expect. I would guess it happens in hundreds of households in this state every year, if not thousands.