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Two 4-year-olds, two guns, two fatal shootings

Four-year-old boys in different states were involved in two separate shooting incidents in the last four days, with tragic results.

On Saturday, a Tennessee boy discharged a pistol at a sheriff's deputy's wife, killing her instantly. On Monday, a New Jersey toddler killed a 6-year-old neighbor after a rifle was fired at his head.


The Tennessee incident occurred during a family cookout at the home of Josephine and Daniel Fanning. He's a sheriff's deputy in Wilson County.

Deputy Fanning, 51, was in his bedroom showing his collection of weapons to a relative around 7:00 p.m. Saturday, when Josephine, 48, and the 4-year-old came into the room. The young boy grabbed a loaded handgun sitting on the bed and fired it once, striking and killing the deputy’s wife, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigations spokeswoman Kristin Helm. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The incident appears to be an accident and no one has been charged, but the investigation is still open, according to Helm.

“It’s a sad, sad set of circumstances,” Sheriff Robert Bryan told NBC affiliate WSMV in Nashville. "Nobody is immune to this. Nobody. It doesn't matter if you are a law enforcement officer. These things can happen in second."

The 4-year-old is a relative of the deputy and his late wife, WSMV reported. The weapon used by the 4-year-old boy was not Deputy Fanning’s service weapon.

Another tragic incident took place in New Jersey on Monday evening, when a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot a 6-year-old neighbor with a rifle he found in his parents’ home.

Police said the two boys were playing with a .22-caliber rifle outside the 4-year-old’s home in Toms River, N.J., when around 7:00 p.m. the gun discharged and struck the 6-year-old in the head, NBCNewYork.com reported.

The 4-year-old's parents reportedly heard the shot and called 911.

According to NBCNewYork.com, the 6-year-old was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center, where he later died. An investigation is ongoing.