According to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a home in the northeast Florida community of Southport around 2 a.m. Thursday for a medical emergency. When they got to the scene, deputies say they found a 7-year-old child with a gunshot wound, bleeding on the bathroom floor and being held by a caregiver.
A post on the sheriff’s office Facebook page identified the caregiver as 32-year-old Kayla Tully. Deputies say Tully told them the dog started barking at some point, and she left a 20-gauge shotgun leaning against the back door of the home as she went to the front door to check why the dog was barking.
Tully said she then “dozed off” on the couch and was later woken up by another child telling her the 7-year-old had been shot, the sheriff’s office says. Deputies say Tully told them she did not hear the gunshot.
According to deputies, there were five children under the age of 10 in the home when first responders arrived. Tully told officials she regularly kept a loaded gun by the back door of the home, the sheriff’s office says.
Investigators believe Tully’s 7-year-old daughter was shot by a younger sibling with the unattended gun while Tully slept, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by WMBB.
The injured girl was rushed to a nearby hospital with severe and life-threatening injuries, WMBB reports, but was listed in stable condition Thursday.
The girl told investigators that her brother accidentally shot her while they were playing with the gun and she didn’t want to get him in trouble “by saying something.”
She was arrested and charged with cruelty toward a child – aggravated abuse, four counts of child neglect and unsafe storage of a firearm.
The affidavit states that Tully confessed to smoking marijuana earlier in the day and also tested positive for methamphetamine in a urinalysis, but said she hadn’t used the drug for several days, according to WMBB.