A Tennessee woman is facing prosecution after a gun safety lesson turned deadly… or did it??
On Sunday, Breanna Gayle Devall Runions was arrested in Roane County after she shot and killed 4-year-old Evangaline Gunter in her Rockwood home, according to the Rockwood Police Department. In Roane County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrants obtained by WBIR, the 25-year-old told investigators she was attempting to teach the young girl a lesson in gun safety — apparently by pointing the weapon to her chest and pulling the trigger?! What the serious eff? You NEVER do that, how is that a lesson?!
Unfortunately, the gun was loaded, and Runions ended up firing a bullet straight through the poor girl’s chest.
Runions and her girlfriend then quickly loaded the 4-year-old into their car and called emergency services, meeting paramedics in a nearby Walmart parking lot. The medics took the young girl to Roane Medical Center where she was pronounced dead shortly after, according to officials.
That would obviously be bad enough — we mean, getting a child killed with a reckless “safety” lesson. But what if that isn’t what happened at all?
Two witnesses — Runions’ girlfriend and a 7-year-old child, who were also in the room at the time of the shooting — have different takes on what went down…
According to them, the two children were being punished for not waking up the adults, and for also eating Runions’ girlfriend’s food. Apparently, Runions hit both of the children with a sandal before sending them to separate corners of her bedroom. The arrest warrant states that Runions then got out a gun and removed the magazine, before calling Evangaline over — and shooting her in the chest.
Runions’ girlfriend was in the room at the time of the shooting but says she had her back turned and didn’t see the trigger being pulled. However, the bullet also hit a glass bottle, which sent shards flying that hit the other child.
So what really happened? Was Runions trying to scare the girl? This impromptu gun lesson story doesn’t really make sense with what the GF said…
Runions was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, according to the RPD, and is being held at the Roane County Jail on a $1.5 million bond. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting Roane County in the investigation, and Runions is expected to appear before a grand jury in February.
District Attorney Russell Johnson told WBIR he encouraged law enforcement to contact the Department of Children’s Services about the living situation, as the relationship between Runions and the children is unclear. Apparently, they were supposed to be living with the 25-year-old for two more months, in what the biological mother, Josie Gunter, told 10 News was a court decision. She told the outlet:
“I feel like it’s my fault that I let her be there. I should have been more attentive. I wish I could have been a better mother for her, to pay attention. But it was a court decision in everything that we had done this for and this is what happens.”
The young girl’s fifth birthday was supposed to be on September 5, which Josie said will now be held as both a postmortem birthday party and vigil. She added:
“Her hugs were so full of life and love. That’s the one thing I’m gonna miss the most, is her hugs and her smile.”
The biological father, Adam Gunter, had his own gun safety advice for everyone:
“Don’t have your guns out. You’re supposed to be gun-smart. Don’t have the gun out.”
What a tragic situation. We hope to see justice served. Rest in peace, Evangaline.
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