- Jun 24, 2003
Very sad. When can we get some common sense gun control in this country? How many children have to die?Self-defense gun kills N. County boy, 3
By David Hunn
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
A shotgun that an Edmundson woman kept for self-protection killed her younger child Sunday -- and police say that her older child pulled the trigger.
The dead child was identified as 3-year-old Benjamin Gollihur. Police say the shotgun blast caught him in the back at 12:25 p.m. in the family home, in the 4300 block of Heath Street.
Police say the victim's older brother, an 8-year-old boy, fired the weapon -- an 18 1/2-inch, pistol-grip, 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun.
Police say the mother of the boys was in the house with a man at the time but was in a different room. Edmundson Police Chief Donald Kraher said the weapon had been kept beneath a couch.
Police declined to identify the mother. But neighbors say she is Rita Gollihur, a full-time college student. The neightbors say she told them that she was being stalked by a fellow student and kept the weapon for self-protection.
The 8-year-old attends Holy Trinity Catholic School at 10901 St. Henry Lane in St. Ann. This morning, principal Margaret Ahle described the 8-year-old as "just the gentlest, sweetest child." Ahle said the boy had been very protective of his younger brother.
The pastor of Holy Trinity, the Rev. John Leykam, said, "This mother sacrificed anything and everything for her kids." He added, "This is a painful tragedy that we all share in."
The school has about 400 pupils. Through a phone tree set-up, parents of all pupils got the word Sunday night about the shooting. The achdiocese dispatched counselors to the school today.
Leykam said, "People are reaching out, asking what they can do."
Police said today that they had yet to talk to the mother or the 8-year-old.
The shooting was the second within a week in which an area child killed another.
Early on Jan. 29, a young boy in an apartment in Venice picked up a revolver and fired a shot that hit 2-year-old Timberlyn Terrell in the head. She died the next day at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis.
In that case, authorities have charged the revolver's owner -- Anthony Wise, who has a drug-dealing record and is the ex-boyfriend of the victim's mother, Kimberly Terrell.