News

Toddler shot to death in Yellowstone

Toddler shot to death in Yellowstone

Photo: clipart.com

By Laura Zuckerman

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – The first child to die from gunfire in Yellowstone National Park in three-quarters of a century was a 3-year-old girl killed over the weekend by a bullet shot from her father’s handgun at a popular lakeside campsite, park officials said on Sunday.

Little information was released by authorities about the toddler’s death since her mother called emergency dispatchers on Saturday to report that her daughter had shot herself at the Grant Village campground on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

Emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate the child, whose name was being withheld until Monday at the request of the family, who are from Idaho, park spokesman Al Nash said.

The death comes three years after enactment of a federal law that lifted a decades-old ban on the possession of firearms by visitors to most national parks, including Yellowstone.

It marks the first fatal shooting in Yellowstone since 1978, and the first shooting death of a child in the park since 1938, when the 13-year-old son of the park’s master mechanic accidentally shot himself in the head with a rifle, Nash said.

A portion of the forested campsite where the shooting occurred remained cordoned off on Sunday as Yellowstone rangers and special agents with the National Park Service continued their investigation of an incident that Nash described as “the kind of thing that isn’t supposed to happen here.”

Park officials revealed the girl’s age on Sunday and said the weapon was a pistol that belonged to her father.

Authorities have declined to say whether investigators believe the shooting was accidental or deliberate.

The Grant Village campground in Yellowstone, which spans nearly 3,500 square miles of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, sits in the Wyoming section of the park near a developed area that contains a ranger station, lodge, shower facilities and other amenities.

It remains unlawful in most national parks including Yellowstone, celebrated for natural wonders like the Old Faithful Geyser and for an abundance of wildlife such as bison, elk and grizzly bears, to hunt or to fire a gun.

The legislation allowing visitors to carry guns in the parks was tacked on to a credit card bill passed by Congress in 2009 and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The measure was backed by gun-rights proponents like the National Rifle Association, but opposed by groups representing park rangers and retired National Park Service employees.

Supporters said it would provide uniformity to a patchwork of firearms regulations that allowed guns in public lands overseen by the U.S. Forest Service and federal Bureau of Land Management, but not in national parks and wildlife refuges.

Opponents said the law would heighten risks for visitors and park employees, embolden poachers and complicate prosecution of wildlife crimes.

Latest Headlines

12 hours ago in Local

Police Investigating Thefts find Teens Handcuffed Together

police

Authorities in Maine say they found two car burglary suspects handcuffed together after an overnight crime spree.

12 hours ago in Local

Parents get strange letter about missing son decades later

WGAN IMAGE

A mysterious letter that was recently sent to a couple whose son disappeared nearly 40 years ago from Fort Kent, Maine, has rekindled police interest in the case.

13 hours ago in Local

Hazmat crews respond to ammonia leak in Portland

PORTLAND FIRE DEPT CENTRAL STATION

Hazardous material crews spent the morning cleaning up an ammonia leak in Portland.

16 hours ago in Local

Murder Conviction in Maine Bee Farm Shooting is Upheld

GENERIC COURT LARGE

The state supreme court has upheld the conviction of a Maine man in the fatal shooting of a fellow lobsterman at a bee farm.

19 hours ago in Local

Police Investigate Head-on Highway Crash in South Portland

police

State police are investigating a traffic crash that left a Portland man in critical condition after a vehicle went airborne and collided with his car head-on.

Tweets

  • 17h
  • 18h
  • 22h
  • 22h
  • 23h
  • 46h
  • 69h