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Four-year-old’s death is grim reminder of pellet gun dangers

Posted at 11:40 PM, Sep 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-08 00:13:52-04

RICHMOND, Va. – A prayer vigil will be held Tuesday night for a 4-year-old girl who died after being shot by another juvenile with a pellet gun.

The family of Geonna Bradley is inviting the public to bring candles and pink items to the 6 p.m. vigil being held in the 1500 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike.

Bradley died Friday night when she was shot in the chest inside her Richmond home. Despite efforts to resuscitate her, paramedics were unable to save the child’s life and she was pronounced dead at VCU Medical Center.

On Saturday, Geonna’s grandmother, Barbara Bradley, tearfully talked about the accident.

“I just want to see her and I miss her so much," Bradley said. “I’m sorry that this tragedy happened.”

While Richmond police are calling the incident a tragic accident and say no charges will be filed, the event reveals potential dangers posed by non-powder guns, such as BB guns, pellet guns and paintball guns.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says high velocity air guns can cause severe injuries, even death, if not used properly. They are also not regulated by the U.S. Government.

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Marlon Dance, the owner of Dance’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights, says he’s never heard of such a tragic incident involving a pellet gun. However, Dance acknowledges some high velocity pellet guns can discharge a pellet up to 1,000 feet per second.

Dance showcased an older model pellet gun that could discharge pellets at 800 feet per second.

“Which would be enough power at close range to probably kill a squirrel off a bird feeder,” Dance said.

Dance says most of his customers use pellet guns to target rodents because residents are not allowed to discharge firearms within city limits or close dwellings.

When it comes to children, the CPSC recommends that children under the age of 16 not use a high velocity BB gun, paint or pellet gun. They also recommend adult supervision and warn that the guns should never be aimed at another person, including the shooter.

The Commission also advises air gun shooters to use safety eye gear, since such guns are often linked to severe eye damage.

RELATED: Family asks for prayers after 4-year-old girl killed by pellet gun