Tennessee woman, 25, fatally shoots girl ‘in a firearm safety lesson’

Tennessee woman, Breanna Runions, 25, charged with murder after fatally shooting Evangaline Gunter, 4, in the chest ‘in a firearm safety lesson’

  • Breanna Runions, 25, was charged with murder and aggravated child abuse after shooting dead four-year-old Evangaline Gunter on Sunday
  • Local media reported that Runions initially told police she had ensured the 9mm handgun was not loaded when she pointed it at the child’s chest and fired
  • Runions said that the gun was brought out for ‘a firearm safety lesson’, but another woman at the home said the child was punished for waking Runions up 

A Tennessee woman has been charged with murder after fatally shooting a four-year-old girl, putting a gun to her chest and pulling the trigger in what she initially claimed was ‘firearm safety training’.

Breanna Runions, 25, was arrested on Sunday after four-year-old Evangaline Gunter was shot dead.

After the shooting in Rockwood, Tennessee, Runions and her girlfriend put the child in a car and drove to seek medical help, calling 911 as they drove. 

They met EMTs in a Walmart parking lot, WBIR reported, and the child was taken to hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Runions told police that she had ensured the gun was unloaded, and pointed it at her chest as a firearm lesson. But her girlfriend contradicted her, WBIR said. 

Breanna Runions, 25, is pictured in a Roane County mugshot. She is accused of murder

Four-year-old Evangaline Gunter was shot and killed on Sunday in Rockwood, Tennessee

The girlfriend said that Evangaline and a second seven-year-old child were being punished by Runions after they failed to wake the two adults up. 

The children were also in trouble for eating food that belonged to Runions’ girlfriend.

Runions is believed to have been put in charge of Evangaline by the courts: her relationship with the child, and the seven-year-old, is not known. 

Runions’ girlfriend said that Runions hit both children with a sandal and ordered the pair to stand in separate corners of the adults’ bedroom.

The girlfriend said Runions then took out a gun and removed the magazine, then called Evangaline over and shot her in the chest. 

Officials said that the girlfriend and the seven-year-old were in the room during the shooting but had their backs to the scene and did not witness the trigger being pulled: the bullet hit a glass bottle, and shards struck the other child.

Runions is pictured with the little girl who she shot and killed in what she initially claimed was 'firearm safety training'

Runions remains in jail, on a $1.5 million bond. A grand jury hearing will likely be held in February, said Russell Johnson, the district attorney.

Johnson said the department of children’s services is investigating, and there had been previous reports to the DCS regarding the children living in the home.

Evangaline’s parents Josie and Adam Gunter told WBIR that their daughter was sent there by the courts, but was only supposed to be there for two more months.

‘I feel like it’s my fault that I let her be there. I should have been more attentive,’ said Josie Gunter. 

‘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. 

‘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.’

Adam Gunter said children should be kept away from guns.

‘Don’t have your guns out,’ he said. 

‘You’re supposed to be gun-smart. Don’t have the gun out.’


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