"The young lady was searching or looking around, found the weapon, was pulling it out of the drawer an the gun discharged as he was pulling it out of the drawer," said Police Chief Rex Brown. Brown said the bullet hit her in the head.
The girl's Principal identified the 9-year-old as Emsley Tate.
"Emsley was a beautiful little girl, pretty red hair, beautiful smile and very very sweet little girl. She was very loved at our school," said Hobart Elementary Principal Angie Winkler. Responders rushed Tate to a nearby hospital Wednesday evening. Brown says even they had to overcome the shocking scene, unusual for the 4,000-person community.
"It affected my officers last night and most of them have kids," he said.
Responders stabilized Tate at Elkview General Hospital and then began loading her on a helicopter to take her to Oklahoma City for treatment. That's when her vitals crashed so they brought her back into the local hospital. But doctors could not stabilize her again
"It's a tragedy that strikes the whole community. Everyone's upset," Brown said.
"It's tragic I mean it's terrible," agreed resident Wayne Law.
The elementary school is already planning a memorial in Tate's honor to remember the girl who would've started third grade next week.
"We're just getting in the beginning stages of it but I see a beautiful tree planted that turns red, just because her head was a beautiful red," Winkler said.
Police warn other gun owners to keep their guns locked away or unloaded so no other families go through the terrible loss of a child.
Investigators are still wrapping up their report and will send it to the D.A. when they're finished. They don't expect the D.A. to bring charges against the parents.