A Ohio Amish girl was killed by a stray bullet while riding in a buggy on her way home from a Christmas party, and a man more than a mile a way who had shot his gun into the air is allegedly to blame.
Rachel M. Yoder, 15, had just dropped off a friend after leaving the party on her horse and buggy. Shortly after, a man allegedly fired his gun in the air from 1.5 miles away, and the bullet struck the Holmes County girl in the head.
Yoder's brother noticed the horse and buggy going in a circle and discovered that his sister had been injured the Coshocton Tribune reported. Initially, investigators believed Yoder had hit her head on the buggy, but a computed tomography scan revealed that she had been shot.
Yoder survived a few hours before eventually succumbing to the gunshot wound.
The family of the accidental shooter came forward after they heard reports of a young girl getting killed. USA Today reported that they knew their relative was cleaning his gun and had fired a bullet into the air at the time of the shooting.
"In all probability, it looks like an accidental shooting," Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said.
Zimmerly said there were worries in the Amish community that the shooting was related to the beard-cutting attacks among Amish men that have been making headlines in recent months, but since it appears accidental, those worries were assuaged.
"Obviously, that makes them feel a lot better than if someone might have been targeting the Amish or (if it was) a random shooting murder," he added.
Fox News 8 in Cleveland reported that the horse instinctively took Yoder home after the shooting.
The accidental shooting brought grim reminders of the 2006 school shooting in a Pennsylvania Amish community that claimed the lives of five young girls. The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, shot himself during the attack. He was reported to have had a long-held grudge against the school, MSNBC reported.