Local News

Wounded Boy's Mom Pleads for Gun Safety

Posted November 30, 2007 5:31 p.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2007 6:39 p.m. EST

— 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.