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May 28, 2002

4-year-old killed in gun accident

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We are used to drivebys, ridebys and walkbys, so Belize City’s latest firearm fatality should not surprise us. In fact, with so many guns in so many irresponsible hands, the real surprise is that there aren’t more tragedies like the one that occurred on Sunday morning. Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The point twenty-two Derringer pistol was placed in a black case, put in this bag and left in the bedroom of seventeen-year-old Kira Plunkett. Those family members present at the time say they did not know there was a gun inside the house. So when four-year-old Honey Flowers went into her aunt’s room they did not think that she was in any danger. Flower’s mother, twenty-one year old Erica Plunkett, who did not wish to appear on camera, says she was at her mother’s house at number 169 George Street helping to move furniture when her ten year old brother, Amin, ran into the room shouting that Honey was hurt.

Erica Plunkett, Mother

“We were in the front of the room because we have three rooms and Honey was in the middle room when my brother ran out and said that the baby got hurt. We thought that she had fell out of the bed and hit her head on a block that was in front of the bed. We did not know it was a gun shot until long after.”

Plunkett says she didn’t hear any noise and did not believe Honey was seriously injured until she saw her daughter’s lifeless body in her brother’s arms.

Erica Plunkett

“My brother brought her out to us. When he ran into the room he saw the blood from the baby and he bring her to us in the hall. And when we reached in the hall my mom take Honey from my brother and I took Honey from my mother and I ran straight to the back door with her to wet her face to wash away the blood. The blood was in front of the bed the room, directly in front of the cement blocks so we thought that she had hurt herself on the blocks.”

But there was nothing Plunkett could have done to save her daughter. Honey had received a bullet wound to the head and she was bleeding from her nostrils and ears. She died shortly after, inside the house. Plunkett believes her daughter was looking for sweets in her aunt’s bag because that is where the candies were usually kept. They theorise that Honey, who was standing at the bedside, came across the case, opened it and started to play with the gun when it fired.

Jacqueline Woods

“Did you guys know that the gun was inside this black case?”

Erica Plunkett

“No. We didn’t know nothing. We didn’t know that a gun was in the house any at all.”

However, sources close to the investigation tell News 5 that while those present may not have known that there was a gun in the bag, they were aware that a gun had been stashed there in the past. Kira Plunkett, who was at the cayes at the time of the incident, told police that her boyfriend Dean Cain, gave her the gun to hold for him. We’re not sure what mischief Cain may have committed with the weapon in the past, but Sunday’s death was an accident waiting to happen.

Lorna McDougal, Director, NOPCA

“Children depend on us to protect them, children have no control over certain things and we as adults are given the responsibility to protect them and care for them.”

Director of the National Organisation for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Lorna McDougal, is saddened by the senseless death of four-year-old Honey Flowers. McDougal says while NOPCA sends out its condolences to the family, we must all take the steps necessary to protect the lives of children.

Lorna McDougal

“You need to know everybody is at risk for that matter when there is a loaded gun around. So I would like to implore parents and caregivers and anybody for that matter who has a loaded gun around, to try as best as possible to keep it out of reach of children, or if they are handling it to make sure that children are not around.”

This morning, Honey’s grandmother Maureen Cooper was taken to Magistrate’s Court where she was charged along with daughter Kira Plunkett and Plunkett’s boyfriend Dean Cain for the possession of an unlicensed firearm. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

Although the three have been charged with those firearm offences, it is possible that after a review by the D.P.P. additional charges could be brought based on the death of Honey Flowers.

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