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Published:April 9th, 2013 07:44 EST
Wife of Sheriff Deputy, Josephine Fanning Shot Dead By 4-Year-Old Boy at Lebanon, Tenn. Party!

Wife of Sheriff Deputy, Josephine Fanning Shot Dead By 4-Year-Old Boy at Lebanon, Tenn. Party!

By John G. Kays

A troubling incident or accident (if you will) occurred in Lebanon, Tennessee (25 miles east of downtown Nashville) Saturday night; a 4-year-old boy picked up a loaded pistol on a bed and shot Josephine Fanning, 48, to death. Josephine is the wife of Wilson County Sheriff`s Deputy Daniel Fanning, who was entertaining family and friends at his home, and showing some of his guns to his guests from his personal collection. Apparently, Daniel had set his loaded handgun down on the bed (for a moment), while he retrieved another to show his guests.

Nearly at the same time, his wife Josephine and the little boy must have wandered into the bedroom, when this unfortunate sequence of events unfolded. According to Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, who spoke to WSMV-TV, it happened very quickly. Well, Bryan`s exact words are: "Nobody is immune to this - nobody. It doesn`t matter if you are a law enforcement officer. These things can happen in seconds." This is absolutely true!

News coverage on the tragic accident, which cost Josephine Fanning her life is rather sparse and general, as is often the case in more rural areas of the country (there may not be any local news). Yet, one would like to know, how many people were at Daniel Fanning`s party in Lebanon last Saturday evening? Also, who were the people present? Were they mainly from law enforcement circles or were there some from other walks of life? Were some of the guests associates of Daniel`s wife, Josephine?

Furthermore, we hear that there was some consumption of alcoholic beverages involved; not too unusual for a party, but how much drinking was going on? What type of alcohol was consumed? Was it mainly beer, or was some whiskey consumed also? Not that this should be such a pivotal factor in the investigation surrounding the shooting (by a 4-year-old), but we all know, whiskey is going to get you quite a bit more inebriated than is beer. 

For example, how much had Daniel Fanning himself had to drink that night? We know also, Daniel wasn`t on duty that night, and the gun that was used by the boy was his personal firearm, not his police service revolver. But why was it fully loaded?

And did he notice the boy and Josephine enter his bedroom (seemingly, at the very same time)? Why set the loaded pistol down on the bed? Why not put it back in its holster? I`m sure he`s asking himself the very same question, steeped in guilt and grief, as he surely must be.

And what about the boy who did the shooting? The Tennessean (Wife of deputy shot, killed in Wilson County accident, by Andy Humbles) reports the boy (his identity can`t be disclosed at this time, pending further investigation) was a relative to Daniel and Josephine Fleming. But how so; who are his parents? Did he believe the gun was a toy? How did he have enough strength to discharge the firearm? Was the safety on? Had the boy ever fired a real gun before?

Another fact reported by the Tennessean (once again) is that  `Tennessee ranks among the highest in the nation for accidental firearm deaths (source: Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).` As far as this particular gun accident goes, this may only be coincidental. Yet one must assume, Daniel Fanning was something of a gun enthusiast, from the fact that he collected firearms. 

But was he over the top about it? Is he a zealous NRA, Second Amendment Rights fanatic? And if he is, does this somehow impact or have a cause and effect relationship with what transpired at his house Saturday night? IE, why was his personal firearm fully loaded at his own private party? Was he paranoid for some reason?