Pregnant mother dies after being shot by child in Kalamazoo

Posted at 11:40 AM, May 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-22 22:45:55-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A 28-year-old woman was killed Friday after being shot with a shotgun inside a Kalamazoo home, according to Kalamazoo Police.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeffrey Hadley told FOX 17 that a 12-year-old with a mental impairment shot the woman through a wall while she and the child's family were sleeping.   The incident happened at a home in the 700 block of Dwight Street.

Family members have identified the victim as Debbie Christner.  Hadley said she was a friend of the child's family. He said the shooting is believed to be accidental.

The grandfather of the 12-year-old shooter said that Debbie Christner had been staying at the house for about a year and was two months pregnant.

"She asked if she could stay until she got back on her feet, get her own place and I said sure and my daughter had gotten her a job working at McDonald's. She was doing really good there. She was becoming a manager," said Daniel Hummel, grandfather of the 12-year-old shooter.

Hummel said that his grandson took the key to his gun safe out of his clothing pocket while the family was asleep. The boy then took a shotgun out of the safe, and loaded it. Hummel said that in an attempt to remove the bullet, the weapon fired. The shot went through the dinning room wall, into the living room where Christner was sleeping.

"My daughter Jen said, 'Debbie is bleeding,' and we turned the light on and you could see all the blood, and I seen the gun laying there," said Hummel.

Hummel said that Christner was breathing, but passed away when paramedics arrived.

"With his mental condition, he doesn't realize it. He knows he was wrong putting the bullet in the gun, even touching it, but he doesn't realize," said Hummel.

Hummel also said that he has taken the boy on several hunting trips and he was trained to use the gun.

The 12-year-old is not being charged with any crime as of Friday night.