Cheyenne Alexis McKeehan, a Tennessee girl, aged 3, accidentally killed herself on Sunday night, according to local police in Wilson County. The incident allegedly occurred after she mistook a gun for a Wii controller.
Investigators claim that the girl's stepfather, Douglas Cronberger, had left a semi-automatic weapon on the living room table, and that the child had mistaken it for a Nintendo Wii controller. The child is then said to have fatally shot herself in the abdomen. She was rushed to hospital, but pronounced dead the same night.
Pictured: Genuine gun on top, compared to Wii peripheral on bottom (WSMV)
The stepfather claims he was asleep at the time of the incident, according to authorities. The stepfather also claims the child's mother, Tina Ann Cronberger, was in the room with the child at the time of the incident. The mother was supposedly sitting at the computer, just a few feet away.
The mother has told authorities the girl might have thought she was playing with a Nintendo Wii controller that resembled a gun. According to the stepfather, the gun was out because he had heard a prowler and gotten the gun out earlier that evening. He then left the gun on the table in the living room. The gun is apparently a .380 caliber semi automatic handgun. The gun was usually kept unloaded and in a cabinet.
The child had been playing a Wii game. The game’s controller, according to authorities, was shaped like a gun that looked very similar to the real handgun. Cheyenne had learned how to use a gun from playing the Wii game for days. The authorities claim the girl "pulled the gun off the table and it went off."
There are no criminal charges pending, but the sheriff's office will turn information culled in its investigation over to prosecutors.
We advise parents concerned about their child's safety regarding Wii hardware to consult Nintendo's Wii safety page.
UPDATE: Extra details from local news outlets.
FURTHER UPDATE: Extra details from additional news source
FURTHER UPDATE: Thanks to reader "mine", who alerted us to the image that appears above
FURTHER UPDATE: Names incorporated into the article, as they have now been released.
FURTHER UPDATE: More details from new source.