An 11-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the US after allegedly shooting another child dead because she would not let him play with her puppies.
MaKayla Dyer, eight, was killed while playing outside her home in White Pine, Tennessee, on Saturday evening.
The Jefferson County Sheriff, G.W. “Bud” McCoig, said the girl was playing with three other girls when the boy, her neighbour, called out of the window of his mobile home to ask if he could see her two new puppies.
When MaKayla refused, the unidentified boy allegedly retrieved his father’s 12-gauge shotgun, shot the girl in the chest from the window, and then threw the weapon outside by her body.
“It is a sad, sad situation,” said Sheriff McCoig. “We hope this don't ever happen again.”
MaKayla was unconscious when emergency services arrived at the scene and was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, he added.
“She was a precious little girl, she was a mommy’s girl, no matter how bad of a mood you were in she could always make you smile,” McKayla’s mother, Latasha Dyer, told WATE 6 television.
“I want her back in my arms, this is not fair, hold and kiss you’re babies every night because you’re never promised the next day with them.
“I hope the little boy learned his lesson because he took my baby’s life and I can’t get her back.”
Both children went to the same school, where MaKayla was in the third grade and the boy was in the fifth. Counsellors attended on Monday to help other pupils.
The boy was taken into custody and has been charged with first-degree murder as a juvenile.
A judge at a detention hearing on Monday ruled that he will remain in a juvenile facility in Knoxville until a court appearance scheduled for 28 October, when a judge could rule that he be tried as an adult.
The age of criminal responsibility is set by each state in the US but Tennessee has not set a specific minimum.
Remembrance services will be held for MaKayla at her family home before her funeral on Wednesday.