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4-year-old girl dies after shot by child at mother’s home

CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) — A 4-year-old girl is dead after being shot by her 5-year-old brother Wednesday afternoon at their mother’s home in Cumberland, police say.

The girl was identified as Deor Nita.

Cumberland Police Chief Suzanne Woodland said police were sent to a report of a person shot around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday at a home in the 600 block of Woodlark Drive. That is in an apartment complex off Washington Street.

Woodland says a great-great-grandmother was supervising four siblings who were playing upstairs when the shooting happened.

Woodland says the 4-year-old died at the home.

“(The) mom lives here, too. Grandma just, mom works, and grandma was here taking care of the kids,” Woodland said. “That wasn’t anything unusual, and the grandma is very distraught.”

Neighbors say the area has changed dramatically. Lauren Geist, a neighbor across the street, says this change is scary to see. “It scares me, me and my husband, actually. We have three small children. Just a lot has been happening lately around the neighborhood, a lot of new families and faces.”

Geist adds that they’ve noticed many children being unattended, and “if kids aren’t being watched, something bad is eventually going to happen and, unfortunately, something bad did happen.”

Tristan Tex, who lives right across the street from where the shooting happened, has decided to move over the increase in gun violence and other crimes in Indianapolis. “My lease is up in like six months and we’re moving out. We just can’t (deal) with it. In the time that we’ve been here in five years, it has just dramatically changed in Cumberland and Indianapolis. It’s insane.”

Tex says this family has only lived in the neighborhood for a few months, but he’s witnessed a fight outside the home, and police have been called there multiple times. “When the police were here initially for the brawl, and for the gun that was pulled during that brawl, why didn’t an investigation happen then?”

Investigators say they are not sure how the 5-year-old boy got a firearm. He’d initially been identified as the 4-year-old girl’s sister, but investigators said Thursday that the 5-year-old was a boy.

Investigators on Wednesday did not know who owns the firearm.

Woodland calls this case a gun safety issue.

“This is nonsense. It could have been prevented,” Woodland said. “These are not household pets you leave laying around. Put it up. Be careful. Respect the firearm.”

Woodland noted that multiple Marion County agencies provide gun locks at no cost. “Respect these firearms. They are not toys,” she said.

Woodland says a decision on criminal charges would be left up to the prosecutor.

Cumberland, a town of 6,280 people, straddles the Marion-Hancock County line.