This is the kind of story we should never have to cover. There is simply no excuse for this type of shooting EVER.
Shortly after 5 p.m. on June 10, 2017, a father in Indiana was showing his sons a 9MM handgun, instructing them not to play with it “because it can kill someone” when he pulled the trigger, killing his 9-year-old daughter Olivia who had just walked into the room where he was talking with his sons.
In the 911 call, 33-year-old Eric Hummel sobbed as he told the dispatcher, “This can’t be real,” the Post-Tribune reported.
“I had my gun, and I pulled the trigger. I didn’t realize there was a bullet in there, and I shot my daughter,” Hummel told the dispatcher.
The dispatcher instructed Hummel to perform CPR on his daughter until emergency responders arrived.
“She’s got blood, man, everywhere,” he replied.
Throughout the call, Hummel said over and over, “Oh my God.”
“What the (expletive) just happened?” Hummel said in disbelief.
The paper reported that he could be heard whispering, “Please don’t go.”
Olivia was shot in the left upper forehead from a distance of about 2 to 3 feet, an autopsy at the Lake County coroner’s office found, according to court records.
Hummel reportedly called the girl’s mother from the police station and told her to go to the hospital because their daughter was dead. One of the responding officers reportedly overheard Hummel say, “I shot her. I’m so sorry.”
According to the police report, one of Hummel’s sons—the 9-year-old—said his father pointed the gun at him “probably like two times” and “a few times” at the other brother, alleged.
At a press conference, Hobart Police Chief Richard W. Zormier said, “I believe this was a series of heinous and depraved acts committed by the suspect on June 10. His actions that day endangered the lives of all three children and ultimately stole the life of Olivia, an innocent 9-year-old girl.”
“His actions caused the death of Olivia and likely scarred the boys emotionally for life,” concluded Zormier.
“This event has impacted each and every officer and civilian staff member at the police department,” said Lt. James Gonzales, a Hobart Police Department spokesman.
Hummel was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, battery resulting in death to a person less than 14 years old, reckless homicide, and two counts of neglect of a dependent. His attorney, Paul Stracci, says he will enter a Not Guilty plea on behalf of his client and says the idea that Hummel knowingly endangered his children is “ridiculous.”
“Anyone who knows him knows he loves his kids more than anything in the world and would never do anything to hurt them,” Stracci said.
But he did hurt his children. One fatally, and the others emotionally. He hurt his family and his community, and for what? Failing to adhere to a simple set of rules designed to keep gun owners safe?
We need to drill the four rules of gun safety into not only our lives but the lives of everyone. I call it the rule of 10,000: we need to give 100% 100% of the time. Part of giving 100% in the gun community is pushing these four simple rules so that everyone is acutely aware that following them will keep them safe around firearms.