Woman Charged in Fatal Shooting of 4-Year-Old Girl Claims She Was Trying to Show ‘Gun Safety’

The 25-year-old woman, per the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, has been charged with felony murder and aggravated child abuse.

Video via WBIR Channel 10

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Video via WBIR Channel 10

A 25-year-old woman has been arrested and charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a four-year-old girl in Tennessee.

Earlier this week, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that Breanna Gayle Runions had been charged with one count of first-degree felony murder and one count of aggravated child abuse. Per TBI, special agents worked with Rockwood Police Department investigators on the case, which focused on the shooting death of Evangeline Gunter on Sunday at a residence on Airport Road. 

“During the investigation, authorities determined Breanna Gayle Runions (DOB 10/27/1997) caused the injuries that led to the girl’s death,” a TBI spokesperson said in an initial statement.

Online jail records show that Runions was booked into the Roane County Jail on Aug. 27. Bond amount was listed at $1.5 million, broken down as $1 million on the murder charge and $500,000 on the aggravated child abuse charge.

Complex has reached out to the Rockwood Police Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and District Attorney General Russell Johnson's office for comment. This story may be updated.

According to a report from regional outlet WBIR, Runions alleged she was trying to "demonstrate gun safety" when she put the gun against the child's chest and fired. The woman’s girlfriend and a seven-year-old who were also in the home at the time offered a differing recollection, alleging that both children were “being punished" shortly before the shooting.

Per their comments to investigators, Runions is alleged to have hit both children with a sandal. Furthermore, Runions is alleged to have brandished the gun, removed the magazine, and “called the four-year-old over to her and shot her in the chest.” 

While the girlfriend was in the same room, she reportedly did not see the shooting. Both Runions and the girlfriend, who was not identified in initial reports, sought medical attention for the child before she was ultimately pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, the child's biological mother has come forward, revealing that the four-year-old victim was being temporarily housed at Runions' residence due to a prior court decision.

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