Local News

Weldon girl accidentally killed by loaded rifle; two relatives charged

Posted August 10, 2010 10:03 a.m. EDT
Updated August 16, 2010 12:26 p.m. EDT

— Two Weldon men were arrested Monday night after a 4-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed, according to the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

Several children were playing upstairs in a home at 106 Beech Court while adults were downstairs cooking. The children found a loaded rifle, and the gun went off after one child tossed it, authorities said.

Marquisa Keonta "KeKe" Moody was wounded and was taken to Halifax Regional Medical center, where she was pronounced dead.

Derrick Mayo, 32, the girl's uncle, and Marke Parker, 18, a cousin, were home with the children when the shooting took place, Lt. B.L. Martin said in a statement.

"The weapon was allegedly stored in a upstairs closet in Mayo's room," Martin said.

Mayo was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, storing a weapon in a manner accessible by a minor, conspiracy and simple possession of marijuana. He was released after posting a $15,500 bond and has a Sept. 1 court date.

Parker was charged with storing a weapon in a manner accessible by a minor and conspiracy. He was released on a $2,000 bond and also has a Sept. 1 court date.

Halifax County Sheriff Jeff Frazier said the incident serves as a painful reminder of the importance to keep guns locked away from children.

"Nothing good happens. Even these two guys, they didn't mean for anything to happen," Frazier said. "It's senseless, just devastating to the whole family."

Mayo and Parker declined to comment Tuesday.

A recent study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that 36 percent of parents who own guns store them loaded. Forty-five percent of respondents said they don't use gun locks when storing firearms, and 57 percent said they try to store weapons in places where children can't get to them.