The Latest: 2 charged in 6-year-old’s shooting death

Published 12:22 pm Monday, January 23, 2017

PINETOWN — Charges have been filed against the relatives of a 6-year-old girl killed earlier this month in an accidental shooting.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday afternoon that the girl’s aunt, Bambi Dickerson, and Jerry Lee Dickerson Jr. have each been charged with misdemeanor failure to store a firearm to protect a minor. Jerry Lee Dickerson Jr. was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a sheriff’s office press release.

On Jan. 3, first responders arrived at the Dickerson home on Main Street in Pinetown to find Victoria Irene Whitehurst dead of a gunshot wound. According to investigators, an 11-year-old boy was showing Victoria and another 12-year-old girl the shotgun he had gotten for Christmas when the gun went off, killing Victoria. Law enforcement does not release the names of juveniles.

Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Rose said investigators took all the information available to them through witness interviews and studied what state laws were applicable, consulting with 2nd Judicial District Attorney Seth Edwards before pressing charges.

“We tried to figure out every piece of it to include what firearms were in the house, how they’re cared for, who has access to them,” Rose said. “The guns were readily available to anyone that was in the residence and the children knew where they were. They could get to the firearms and ammunition.”

Rose said investigators received reports that this was not the first time children had been known to shoot and manipulate weapons without adult supervision at the home.

“There just wasn’t the proper amount of supervision of the children in reference to the firearms,” Rose said.

Rose said he believes it’s unlikely more charges will be filed, but that will be revisited should more information come to light.

According to the press release, Bambi Dickerson was arrested and released on bond; Jerry Lee Dickerson Jr.’s arrest was still pending as of Monday evening.