- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Prince George’s County police said yesterday they have a good idea how a 4-year-old boy got hold of a gun he used to kill his sister and wound his brother over the weekend, but no charges had been filed in the case as of yesterday.

Police turned evidence over to the State’s Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether to prosecute the case, according to police spokeswoman Cpl. Diane Richardson.

She would not comment on who owned the gun or the specifics of why the boy had it, but said that investigators think they know where the 4-year-old got the weapon.



State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey also would not discuss details of the case, but said the boy faces no legal action for the shootings.

“I don’t think a 4-year-old is competent to form the criminal state of mind that would lead to prosecution,” he said.

Police said 5-year-old Kimberly Brice died at Prince George’s Hospital Center after she and her 7-year-old brother, Gregory Thigpen Jr., were shot Saturday night at their home.

Gregory was in serious condition yesterday but is expected to recover, Cpl. Richardson said.

The 4-year-old boy picked up the .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun Saturday night and fired one shot.

Ten-year-old Katina Brice, the children’s older sister, had gotten Kimberly and Gregory out of the home when she saw the 4-year-old with the gun, but the bullet pierced the front door and tore through Gregory’s back and hit Kimberly’s upper body, police said.

The children’s parents were not home at the time of the shootings, Cpl. Richardson said.

Mr. Ivey would not say whether either parent would face charges. There are several laws that could apply to the case.

Under Maryland law, it is illegal to leave a child younger than 13 in charge of younger children.

It is a misdemeanor for a person to leave a loaded firearm in a place where an unsupervised child could find the weapon.

Maryland law also requires all handguns sold after January 2003 to be equipped with built-in locking devices that prevent them from being fired by unauthorized users.

The gun used in the Saturday shooting did not have a lock, but it was subject to the law, according to state’s attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff.

Crisis counselors were at Matthew Henson Elementary School yesterday to talk to students about the death of their classmate. Principal Clara Yancey said counselors would also be available today.

“She was a very sweet little girl with a very affectionate smile,” Miss Yancey said of Kimberly Brice. “She will definitely be missed.”

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