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4-year-old accidentally shoots, kills Tenn. deputy's wife

6:24 PM, Apr 8, 2013   |    comments
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By Andy Humbles / The Tennessean

The wife of a Wilson County Sheriff's Office deputy was shot to death Saturday at their Lebanon home by a 4-year-old who gained access to a gun at a family cookout, police said.

Josephine G. Fanning, 48, was pronounced dead at the home at 6710 S.E. Tater Peeler Road, according to the Wilson County Sheriff's Office.

The shooting occurred while Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning, 51, was with another relative looking at guns in a bedroom of the home, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The 4-year-old and Josephine Fanning walked into the bedroom where a loaded weapon was on top of the bed, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said. The child picked up the gun and fired one round, which killed Josephine Fanning.

Alcohol was present at the gathering, Helm said. Daniel Fanning was not on duty at the time of the shooting.

The gun fired by the 4-year-old was Fanning's personal weapon and not a police gun, Helm said. The 4-year-old was a relative of Daniel and Josephine Fanning, police said.

The TBI will continue investigating and turn over its findings to the district attorney's office, Helm said. Charges aren't pending.

"(It) appears accidental at this time,'' Helm said.

Daniel Fanning was hired by former longtime Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, who resigned last year to become executive director of the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association.

"He was a good officer who did his job,'' Ashe said.

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