An 11-year-old girl in Texas is dead after her dad accidentally shot her during a Thanksgiving weekend hunting excursion, authorities said.
Daisy Grace Lynn George was joining her father, Travis George, in their truck after a day of hunting in Hallsville, Texas, and was inadvertently shot as her dad—who had “been hunting most of his life”—tried to drop the hammer on his high-powered rifle, which he thought was unloaded, Harrison County Sheriff Brandon Fletcher said Monday.
According to Fletcher, the father and daughter had spent two cartridges while out hunting and the girl’s dad reported ejecting two additional cartridges when they arrived back at the truck.
Travis George was going to clear the hammer on the gun when it went off.
“He thought he had cleared all of the rounds out,” Fletcher said. “But unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
Fletcher said that responding deputies were faced with “quite a trial,” as they tried to locate the little girl and Travis George, who called 911 at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday and kept losing phone signal.
The sheriff estimated that responding deputies lost “about eight minutes” as George made repeated 911 calls and deputies struggled to identify his location.
“He had probably been there a hundred times,” Fletcher added of the girl’s dad. “But his adrenaline was up, he was panicking, he was scared.”
Daisy’s dad eventually helped deputies reach them by using a siren, and they found the 11-year-old with “life-threatening injuries.”
Emergency medical personnel rushed Daisy to the Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead.
Medics had tried to transport the girl via helicopter to the hospital for treatment, but aircraft had been grounded due to inclement weather conditions, the sheriff confirmed. The girl succumbed to her injuries despite “lifesaving efforts” provided by the hospital, in Longview, Texas, according to a news release.
The sixth-grader was expected to be celebrated on Monday at her school, Hallsville Junior High, according to a post on the school’s Facebook page. Students and staff throughout the district were encouraged to don purple in honor of Daisy’s favorite color.
Fletcher said that an investigation into the incident by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is ongoing, but he did not anticipate arresting the girl’s dad in connection with what he called “quite frankly, a hunting accident.”
“A scene of this magnitude—and a child this young—is very trying to work without emotion, it’s almost impossible,” Fletcher said. “I hate to see a young person lose their life this way. I hope that this incident will bring light to many, many other families and kids and hunters and things like that to be aware of their muzzle.”