School principal works to keep student's memory alive after trag - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

School principal works to keep student's memory alive after tragic loss

HOBART, Okla._The city of Hobart is mourning the loss of a young girl who accidentally shot and killed herself while playing her father's gun Wednesday evening.

The news quickly spread through the small city by phone and social media that 9-year-old Emsley Tate had died. Neighbors, as well as the school principal and superintendent, said they're all reaching out to the Tate family to help them through this tragedy.

It’s been less than 24 hours since the incident, so they are still trying to process what has happened. Emsley used to roam the halls of Hobart Elementary School, and she would have been in third grade this year. This accident is something the community is struggling to cope with.

Principal Angie Winkler said she received the call last night and couldn't believe it.

"Emsley was a beautiful little girl, pretty red hair, beautiful smile, and very, very sweet little girl. She was very loved at our school," said Winkler.

Her father had gone out to target practice last weekend and hid the loaded gun in an unlocked chest of drawers, but that wasn't enough.

"It doesn't matter what age the child is, kids are curious and they like to explore, and unfortunately they like to explore in places they shouldn't be," said Hobart Police Chief Brown.

Chief Brown responded to the call Wednesday night and said it happened while the mother was lying on the couch. She went into her parents’ bedroom, found the gun and curiously started playing with it. And then it went off, shooting her in the head. The mother found her and called 911. Emsley was to the taken to the hospital to be medically evacuated, but died before she got into the helicopter.

Chief Brown said it was a sad moment for him and the police officers, but it can be stopped as long as adults remember to be responsible.

"We are a state that believes in the right to carry firearms and there's nothing wrong with that. But what parents must realize is that with that responsibility also goes the responsibility that their children are safe," said Chief Brown.

Chief Brown said although they had to see that family under those circumstances, the department will continue to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers. Principal Winkler has taken it upon herself to make sure young Emsley will not be forgotten.

"We're just getting in the beginning stages of it, but I see a beautiful tree planted that turns red, just because her head was a beautiful red," said Winkler.

The students will start school next Thursday. As of now, the police chief said he does not suspect any charges will be filed against the parents.


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