Neighbors braced for worse before accidental shooting in Carroll County

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CANA, Va. (WDBJ7) A 9-year-old girl is in a North Carolina hospital recovering after the Carroll County Sheriff's Office says she was accidentally shot.

Two people who live in neighboring homes say they aren't surprised it happened. They've witnessed kids from the same home playing with guns outside for years.

"It could have been worse," said Julia Barr, a next-door neighbor.

"It could have been prevented," said Merinda Haynes, who lives two doors down from where the shooting happened.

"They don't need guns. I'm just going to put it plain. They don't need guns," Barr said.

It's a small neighborhood just north of the North Carolina state line. Nearly everyone here knows their neighbors, some are afraid to go outside.

"I don't even feel safe to go out in the summertime to work back in my backyard because bullets has no eyes," Barr said.

Tuesday night deputies were called to a home on Wards Gap Road where three children live with their parents. A 9-year-old girl had been shot through the arm by a 9-mm pistol. Investigators say another child and a parent were cleaning the hand gun when it accidentally fired.

Neighbors say they've called the sheriff's office many times before this accident.

"I probably couldn't count. Seven to 10, easy. The system failed. The system that everybody goes through failed the child," Haynes said.

The sheriff says both rescue and law enforcement have been called out to the home before. The sheriff's office is working with the Department of Social Services on this case.

Neighbors aren't sure if this will be a lesson for the family, but just want the shooting to stop.

"We're not doing this out of hatred. We don't want those kids hurt. I hate [that] this little girl is in this shape when they could have prevented this," Barr said.

We've asked to talk to the sheriff's department further about the case but no one was available Thursday. It's unclear at this point if there will be any charges.