Child accidentally fires gun; woman in other room killed

Alaina Brown

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – Friends have identified the woman who was killed when a 12-year-old mentally impaired boy accidentally fired a gun, shooting her through a wall while she slept.

Debbie Christner, 28, was fatally shot in the head just before 6 a.m. Friday at a home in the 700 block of Dwight Street in Kalamazoo, friends and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety confirmed to 24 Hour News 8.

Authorities said Christner was a family friend who was temporarily staying at the home when the shooting occurred.

Family told 24 Hour News 8 the boy had taken keys to a gun safe in the middle of the night where the 20-gauge shotgun was being stored.

The boy told his grandfather after the shooting he knew he shouldn’t have had the gun and that it accidentally fired. Family said the shooting was a terrible accident and it was unclear why the boy opened the safe, as he never had done so in the past.

The boy’s grandfather also told 24 Hour News 8 the boy had previously taken gun safety instruction at Fort Custer.

Police say the shooting appears accidental, but the investigation is on-going. The boy is not in police custody at this time.

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