Mother of girl, 12, who shot cousin then herself on Instagram Live denies police claim it was a murder-suicide

Shanise Harvey calls the shooting deaths a “freak accident.”

Abe Asher
Tuesday 29 March 2022 18:16 BST
Mother of 12-year-old girl who killed cousin then herself in St. Louis speaks out

The mother of a 12-year-old girl who reportedly shot her cousin and then herself with a gun in St Louis in the early hours of Monday morning has denied a police characterisation of the act as a murder-suicide. The entire event was broadcast on Instagram Live.

“(Paris) dropped the gun, and it fell, and it went off to my knowledge,” the girl’s mother Shanise Harvey told KSDK in St Louis. “And then when she picked it up, she picked it up by the barrel and it went off. That’s all I know... It was not a suicide. It was just a freak accident.”

Shanise Harvey told the television station that she let her daughter Paris Harvey attend a family birthday party and that Paris and her 14-year-old cousin Kuaron Harvey were recording a video when the gun went off and struck Kuraon. Ms Harvey herself did not attend the birthday party.

The St Louis Metropolitan Police Department initially characterised the tragic situation as a murder-suicide, and is still investigating to whom the gun in question belonged and whether anyone will be charged over the two deaths. Both Ms Harvey and the children’s grandmother Susan Dyson have strongly rejected the murder-suicide framing.

“It wasn’t a situation where they were arguing or anything like that,” Ms Dyson told the St Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday. “They were playing with the gun, when they shouldn’t have been. Of course, they shouldn’t have been doing it. I think it just went off. It went off by mistake.”

Paris Harvey (GoFundMe)

Ms Harvey said that she did not know who the gun belonged to or why her daughter and godson were playing with it, but the family said Paris and Kuraon, who were in seventh and eighth grade, respectively, often spent time and recorded videos together. Both children lived in north St Louis.

Their tragic deaths are part of a part of a broader pattern in the US. A record more than 45,000 Americans died from gun-related injuries in 2020, and while the vast majority of those deaths were either murders or suicides, hundreds of people die each year from unintentional gun deaths as well.

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