Accidental shootings of kids rare in northern New England
Ten-year-old Logan Cookson, a country boy who loved stacking wood with his dad and exploring the woods with his mom, considered passing Vermont's hunter safety course his greatest accomplishment.
He died May 24, 2014, after accidentally shooting himself in the abdomen with a .22-caliber revolver during a hunting outing in Cabot.
According to his obituary in The Barre Montpelier Times Argus newspaper, Logan also had a passion for party planning, considered his brother his best friend and left behind four beloved pets — three chickens and a bunny. And he was the only child in northern New England to die of an accidental shooting between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30 of this year, according to an analysis by The Associated Press and the USA Today Network.
The media outlets spent six months analyzing the circumstances of more than 1,000 accidental shootings involving children, using information collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group. Altogether, they found five incidents in northern New England: one death and three injuries in Vermont and one injury in Maine.
Though the number of incidents in Vermont was small compared with many states, so is the state's population. With four shootings, Vermont ranks 10th highest in per capita rate of accidental shootings involving minors. The rest of the New England states have among the lowest rates in the nation.
A snapshot of the other incidents in northern New England:
• On Nov. 16, 2014, an Oxford, Maine, teenager unintentionally shot himself with a handgun at his home on a Sunday afternoon, according to police. The 16-year-old boy was flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he underwent surgery.
Authorities did not release the boy's name or other details. A police lieutenant told the Sun Journal newspaper, "It's a tragic, unfortunate incident, but we're lucky it's going to turn out OK."
• On April 23, 2015, a 6-year-old boy in Burlington, Vermont, was target shooting with his father and two other children in Underhill when the .22-caliber pistol he was using failed to discharge, police said. The boy lowered the weapon and it fired, striking him in his lower left leg.
Authorities said the boy was admitted to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and was expected to fully recover.
• On Aug. 30, 2015, a 9-year-old girl from Poultney, Vermont, was accidentally shot in the abdomen by her father at a hunting camp in Ira. Her brother carried her out of the woods to an ambulance.
Police said McKenzie Ezzo's father, Randy Babcock, was clearing a .22-caliber handgun when it accidentally fired.
According to the Times Argus newspaper, the girl underwent emergency surgery and spent more than a week in the hospital. The first thing she asked her twin sister when she was taken off a respirator was, "Did you bring homework for me?"
Her mother, Nicole Ezzo-Babcock, told the newspaper she knew her daughter would be OK when she immediately started trying to turn cartwheels on the front lawn upon her return home.
• On May 4, 2016, Vermont State Police said a 13-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the foot while hunting in Waitsfield. The teen was taken to a hospital and was expected to be released that day. The shooting involved a small-caliber handgun.
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