Police documents state that the girl's father thought someone was trying to break into the house when he shot at her.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 31, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of gun violence that some readers may find distressing
A 16-year-old girl was allegedly killed by her father who appears to have mistaken her for an intruder, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Janae Hairston, 16, was shot in the garage of her home in Columbus, Ohio, on December 29, 2021. It was Hairston's mother who called 911 and reported that the girl's father had fired at her because he thought she was an intruder. Authorities have opened an investigation into the death of Hairston. Police documents state that the girl's father thought someone was trying to break into the house. The girl's dad can be heard asking his daughter what she was doing in the garage during the 911 call recording. He and her mother can also be heard begging for her to wake up.
The girl's mother made the 911 call around 4.30 and it lasted for eight minutes, during which they begged her to wake up and asked when the police would get there. "My husband made a mistake and shot her because he thought she was an intruder," the mother can be heard telling the 911 dispatcher in the recording obtained by NBC. "She was in our garage and my husband just didn’t know what was going on. Oh my God." The father can be heard telling his daughter, "Breathe, baby." Police responded to the call and arrived at their home within 10 minutes and she was rushed to Mount Carmel East Hospital in critical condition. She was pronounced dead at 5:42 a.m., said the Columbus Police Department.
Hairston's social media profile was one filled with joy and that of a typical teenage girl, including many selfies. She also discussed getting a job and trying to decide whether she should stay close to home or go further away for college. A neighbor who spoke to ABC6 described her death as 'heartbreaking.' "This is a neighborhood that has, like, picnics in the square during the [Ohio State University] games, we get the big screens out. We're a great neighborhood, I'm just kind of shocked," said the person who only identified as Randy.
Hairston was a junior at the high school in Canal Winchester School District. "We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and our thoughts, prayers, and support are with them. We are saddened by this tragic loss and will make every effort to help students and families cope," said the district in a statement. The school district said that counselors would be made available when students return from winter break and provided links to resources that are more readily accessible for students and their parents as they deal with the loss. Seven homicides have been reported in Columbus within a week. Hairston's case will be forwarded to the Franklin County Prosecutor's office for review.
Roughly 500 people die every year from unintentional firearm injuries, according to The Educational Fund To Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV). In 2019, 1.2% of all gun deaths were a result of unintentional firearm injuries. The pandemic has also seen a huge spike in kids accidentally pulling the trigger. According to research by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, accidental gunshot deaths by children handling a gun jumped 31% during the start of the pandemic compared to a year earlier.
Cover Image Source: YouTube screenshot/WBNS 10TV