13-year-old dies after accidental gunshot
A 14-year-old Grovetown Middle School pupil has been charged in the Halloween shooting death of a 13-year-old classmate.
Kristen Burnette, 13, was pronounced dead at about 11:15 p.m. at her home at 5048 Reynolds Way, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.
A 14-year-old boy is charged with involuntary manslaughter for accidentally shooting her with a shotgun, Grovetown Department of Public Safety Capt. Donovan Jones said. He was being held Thursday at the Regional Youth Detention Center.
The incident appears to be senseless, but not malicious Grovetown Chief Gary Owens said.
“It’s carelessness with a firearm,” Owens said. “These kids are friends. There’s no maliciousness. It is just a senseless tragedy.”
Kristen and three friends were “hanging out” at her house. No adults were home, Collins said. The victim’s mother, Miriam Lunsford, was not home and her step-father, Steven Lunsford Jr., is an Army soldier deployed to Afghanistan.
The 14-year-old boy went looking through the house and found a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot in the master bedroom.
“She was sitting in a chair in the dining room at her laptop,” Collins said. “She was struck in the head by the projectiles from the shotgun.”
The boy “accidentally discharged” the gun in the den and hit Kristen in the dining room 22-25 feet away, Jones said.
“If there’s a firearm at the house, it needs a gun lock on it,” Collins said. “It’s so inexpensive when it comes to your child’s life or anybody’s life.”
The following account was taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
70-year-old shot in parking lot
A North Carolina man was shot late Tuesday by an armed robber in a Grovetown restaurant parking lot.
The 70-year-old man from Mount Olive, N.C. said he and a friend were leaving the Cracker Barrel on Jimmie Dyess Parkway just after 10 p.m. when a man approached them as they walked to their vehicle and drew a handgun. The robber demanded the man’s wallet.
The man told the robber he didn’t have a wallet. The robber fired one shot into the air. The man said he hit the robber in the face with his hat and the robber shot him in the left thigh.
The man’s friend said while his friend was on the ground, the robber rolled him over and took the wallet from his back pocket. The robber turned toward the man’s friend, who gave the robber a checkbook.
iPhones taken from store
An AT&T store employee said an armed man stole three phones from the Martinez store Wednesday morning.
The employee of the store at 355 S. Belair Road said he was working with a customer just before 11 a.m. when he saw a man walk in and snatch three phones off their cradles, setting off an alarm.
The employee said he followed the man outside and saw him getting on a white sports motorcycle. He told the man to stop. The thief lifted his sweatshirt, revealing a handgun tucked into his pants and said, “Don’t even try it, man.”
The thief drove away toward Interstate 20.
Woman claims she was cheated
A Grovetown woman called authorities Monday saying she’d been cheated by a Knology employee.
The 44-year-old woman said on Sept. 9 she sold a 56-inch rear-projection television to a man named Mathis, who worked for Knology, in exchange for the “complete VIP package” for free. They agreed and her cable was installed the next day.
The woman said she’s enjoyed free cable since Sept. 9. She recently texted the man about a program she was not able to watch. The man said it wasn’t included and that he was no longer employed by Knology.
Woman says she was followed
A Grovetown woman told deputies Monday that an enraged motorist followed her home.
The 62-year-old woman said she pulled into her Wildberry Court driveway at about 6 p.m. and a truck pulled in behind her. A man she had never seen jumped out and yelled and cursed at her before she could get out of her car. He screamed that she almost ran into him head on on a nearby road.
The woman, who had an 8-year-old girl in the backseat, said she never saw him and told him to leave several times. The man threw his hands in her face, so she hit him on the head. The woman said she was afraid he was going to hit her. The woman said the man would not leave until she called 911.
The man told deputies that he was driving on Autumn Trail when a Cadillac in his lane headed for him. He ran off the road to avoid being hit head-on. The man said he raced to catch up with the car, which he found in the Wildberry Court driveway. He approached the woman and asked why she ran him off the road. The man said the woman denied any knowledge of the incident, cursed at him and said to get off her property or she’d get her gun and shoot him.
The man said he cursed back and the woman jumped out of her vehicle and punched him in the head. He saw the girl in the back seat, so he stopped talking.
Deputies cited the man for disorderly conduct stating he couldn’t follow people to their homes.