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Girl Killed by Shot Through Ceiling

February 12, 1998

BURIEN, Wash. (AP) _ A 4-year-old girl was killed by a shotgun blast through the ceiling of her family’s apartment as she slept beside her brother.

Though the shooting appeared to be accidental, a teen-ager was being held for investigation of manslaughter in the death of Queen Maureen Sams-McKoy.

``The odds of being killed in your own home in the middle of the night like that are just astronomical,″ said Marcus Sams-McKoy, her father. ``It’s just kind of a freak thing _ with a touch of carelessness and negligence.″

King County sheriff’s spokeswoman Joanne Elledge said the 20-gauge shotgun discharged Wednesday morning while being handled by a 22-year-old man and two 17-year-olds.

``They were passing around a shotgun and just being guys, kind of fiddling with it,″ Elledge said. ``And while one of the 17-year-olds was pointing it at the floor, it went off.″

The girl and her 3-year-old brother, Marcus Jr., were sleeping in their bedroom in a ground floor apartment in this Seattle suburb when the blast blew through the ceiling.

Their father ran in when he heard his son screaming.

``I was in shock,″ Sams-McKoy said. ``I looked at her and she was still faintly breathing _ heaving is more like it _ every 10 to 15 seconds.″

She died en route to the hospital in Seattle.

The teen-ager who was holding the gun was arrested and booked into juvenile jail. Elledge said he was so distraught that investigators found it difficult to interview him even though he tried to cooperate.

``It does appear to be accidental. It wasn’t intentional,″ Elledge said, ``but it was irresponsible.″

The mother, Victoria Sams-McKoy, nine months’ pregnant with the couple’s third child, was taken to a hospital after the shooting with labor contractions but returned home later in the day when the contractions stopped.

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