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Opinion
Francis Wilkinson

The Shooting of Millie Kelly

A mother stored a gun in her car to protect her children. It killed her daughter instead.

There have been at least 134 unintentional shootings by children so far in 2019.

There have been at least 134 unintentional shootings by children so far in 2019.

Photographer: Michael Bradley/Getty Images

On Monday, April 8, Courtney Kelly’s Hyundai Elantra failed. Kelly had just gotten all three kids packed into their car seats in the back. Millie, 6, was on the passenger side. Maddox, 4, was on the driver’s side. Lucas, 2, was strapped in the middle. It was about 5:45 p.m. They were on their way to Maddox’s baseball practice. With the children settled, Kelly was poised to pull out of her driveway on Laurelcrest Lane in Dallas, Georgia. The car wouldn’t start.

Kelly got out to investigate. She heard the gunshot soon after. The bullet, a Hornaday .380, entered Millie’s right eye at close range and exited the back of her skull. After barreling through Millie’s brain, spreading matter across the back of the car, the bullet still possessed enough force to break the rear window. A spent shell casing was later found on the driveway.