Man who shot dead 4-year-old girl while doing target practice escapes charges after girl’s forgiving MOTHER pleads for police to show mercy on him
- Zoie Dougan died en route to a Missouri hospital in October
- The Christian County prosecutor decided early in March not to press charges
- Reports say the unnamed 24-year-old man was was aiming at a pile of trash when Zoie walked into the site and was shot in the head
A Missouri man who gunned down a 4-year-old girl while doing target practice in his yard won’t face charges and has the child’s merciful mother to thank.
The Christian County Prosecutor decided early this month not to file charges against an unnamed 24-year-old man in the death of Zoie Dougan of Branson after her mother Alyssa Dougan pleaded with them not to.
Dougan said the man had no idea Zoie was in front of his .22 caliber rifle October 28 as he took aim at a pile of trash, pulled the trigger and put a bullet in her head.
Zoie died en route to a hospital in Springfield, reports News-Leader.com.
She’d been playing with friends at a home in Rogersville as her young mother and another woman painted a headboard outside.
Meanwhile, the man next door had loaded his gun and decided to ‘sight’ the firearm by shooting at a glass bottle 70 feet away on a pile of trash meant to be burned.
In that moment, reports reveal, little Zoie took off running toward a swingset with another child.
The next thing anyone knew, she was lying in the grass and bleeding form the head.
The man would later claim he’d closed one eye while aiming and never saw the girl at all.
Shattered peace: The pastoral scene where little Zoie was gunned down in the grass as she and a friend ran toward a swing set
After the women heard the shot and saw Zoie in the grass, chaos broke out as the little girl failed to respond to her mother’s calls.
‘This can’t be real,’ witnesses report Alyssa screaming when the horrific reality of the situation became clear. ‘Why?’
She also spoke words at the scene that she’d presumably repeat to county prosecutor Amy Fite:
‘Don’t let (him) get in trouble, it was an accident,’ Alyssa said.
Reports say the man was distraught and muttered in disbelief in the aftermath.
‘(The man) was crying and emotionally upset as he described the chain of events, claiming it was a complete accident,’ the report said.
He also told officers he knew shooting at that location ‘wasn’t good judgment. I understand that.’
He was arrested on an outstanding warrant, but has since walked free.
While the man won’t be found legally at fault in the case, the report does indicate the ‘the direction he was firing the weapon was extremely dangerous’ and that he did it, nonetheless, out of ‘carelessness.’