Mother of 13-year-old shot, killed by friend says shooting was 'a careless accident'

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email
Ashley Lunsford's daughter, Kristen, died after her friend accidentally shot her. (WRDW-TV)

Ashley Lunsford's daughter, Kristen, died after her friend accidentally shot her. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW) -- On Friday morning, a 14-year-old boy will face a judge on charges of involuntary manslaughter for the death of one of his best friends.

It's been a little more than three months since 13-year-old Kristen Burnette was accidentally shot and killed by her friend. The two were both Grovetown Middle School students.

"It's just like being on an emotional roller coaster," said Kristen's mom, Ashley Lunsford.

On Thursday, she wore a K around her neck in memory of her Kristen.

"Her laugh, her smile, her goofiness," she said with a smile, remembering her daughter. "Didn't matter what kind of day I was having, she'd always make me laugh."

On Halloween Kristen and her three friends were at her home after being dropped off from a party when one of the boys found a gun.

"They came back from the party before I got home and he went through our bedroom in the closet and found it which we had it there for protection because my husband at the time was in Afghanistan," Lunsford explained.

Investigators say it appears he tried to clear the gun and that's when it went off.

"You always hear about it happening you just never think it'll happen to you," Lunsford said. "It was just an accident, careless accident because he really cared about her. They were very good friends."

On Friday morning the teenager will face a judge as a juvenile for involuntary manslaughter and could face up to one year at the Augusta Youth Development Campus, but Lunsford says she hopes they'll take it easy on him.

"He's gonna suffer enough with it the rest of his life," she said. "I just hope that he can move on, that all of them can move on."

She says she hopes this will be a lesson to kids to stay away from guns.

"Kids need to be taught they're not a toy," she said. "You don't play with them. Don't pick them up, and you always treat them like they are loaded."

She says both she and Kristen knew how to use the gun, but it just got into the wrong hands.

Lunsford says she still has some questions about what happened that night and hopes she'll get some of those answers on Friday.


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