An Indiana father was arrested on Saturday after fatally shooting his 9-year-old daughter while he was allegedly teaching his children about gun safety.
Eric Hummel’s two sons were cleaning their room when the 33-year-old walked in with his 9mm Glock handgun and said, “You should never mess with the gun.” As he proceeded to teach them about how to safely handle a gun, their sister Olivia entered the room.
“I was showing the boys the gun and told them not to ever play with it because it can kill someone,” Hummel said. “Then she walked in the room and I pointed it at her and pulled the trigger, thinking it was empty.”
The girl was shot in the head from as little as 2 feet away and was pronounced dead at a hospital within 30 minutes. When police arrived at the residence, Hummel was reportedly kneeling next to her in a bedroom doorway saying, “She’s dead. She’s dead. I thought it was empty.”
At one point during the subsequent questioning, he asked to call the girl’s mother. During the phone call, an officer overheard him saying, “I shot her. I’m so sorry […] It was stupid. It was so stupid.”
According to one of Hummel’s sons, he pointed the gun at him two or three times, and the gun made “a little pop sound.” Hummel then pulled the top of the gun back once, forgetting that he had “put the bullets back in” when he “shot our sister.”
Olivia’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy, and Hummel has been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, battery resulting in death to a person less than 14 years old, reckless homicide and two counts of neglect of a dependent — all felonies.
“I believe this was a series of heinous and depraved acts committed by a suspect on June the 10th. His actions that day endangered the lives of all three children and ultimately stole the life of Olivia, an innocent 9-year-old little girl,” Hobart Police Chief Richard Zormier said, adding that “this was not just another accidental discharge of a firearm […] His actions caused the death of Olivia and likely scarred the boys emotionally for life.”
Hummel faces 20 to 40 years in prison if convicted of neglecting a dependent resulting in death alone.