Updated 7 months ago by Josh Breslow
The family of a southern Kentucky toddler shot and killed in her home Tuesday afternoon says it was nothing more than a tragic accident.
According to State Police, the five-year-old brother of Caroline Sparks somehow discharged his rifle on Lawsons Bottom Road in Cumberland County killing his two-year-old sister.
"No matter what you did, everything was just kind of funny or she got tickled over the little things," Caroline's grandmother, Linda Riddle told LEX 18. "She was probably the most smiling child, laughing child that I seen in a long time."
Riddle described her granddaughter as her pride and joy, as well as a church-going girl who enjoyed singing, smiling, and playing outdoors. Most importantly, the family said little Caroline loved her older brother.
"It's just been rough since yesterday," Riddle said. "It's been more than I can handle."
According to the Cumberland County Coroner, Caroline's five-year-old brother was playing with a rifle he'd been given as a gift, when it fired, striking and eventually killing his little sister, who was pronounced dead at a hospital. The coroner confirmed it appeared accidental.
The mother of the children was home at the time of the shooting, the coroner told LEX 18. He said she stepped outside for a minute or two while cleaning. The coroner said the gun was kept in what the family considered to be a "safe spot."
State Police said they were actively investigating the incident to determine the next step in the case.
"I mean, it's tragic. It's something that you can't prepare for," Caroline's uncle, David Mann said.
"It was God's will. It was her time to go I guess?" Riddle said. "I just know she's in Heaven right now and I know she's in good hands with The Lord."
A fund has been set up to help Caroline's family with funeral costs. Donations can be made at Citizens Bank Of Cumberland County under the "Caroline Sparks Memorial Fund."