SMYTH COUNTY, Va. - A 10-year-old girl is in the hospital after being shot over the weekend. It happened around 8:30 Saturday morning at a home off of Shuler Hollow Road.
Investigators believe the shooting was an accident. Police believe a rifle accidentally went off after the girl and her dad were out hunting.
"The 10-year-old female had been shot in the back from an accidental discharge from a hunting rifle," says Major Chip Shuler with the Smyth County Sheriff's Office.
According to the police report, the girl's dad and grandfather told police they were out hunting before the shooting occurred. "Saturday was Youth Hunting Day in Virginia. It's a day when children under the age of 16 can go with a parent and take a deer," explains Shuler.
According to investigators, charges are not expected to be filed in this case.
It does have some Conservation Police Officers reminding hunters about safety. "We would encourage hunters to never load their firearm until they are at the hunting site and they are ready to hunt," says Jeff Pease, a hunter education coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Pease reminds hunters to always use caution when handling a weapon, and he encourages a safety course. "Take a hunter safety class that we offer free to the public, or get with someone who has experience a mentor ,or somebody who is skilled in that area," he said.
Pease says the busiest time of year for hunting will be in November.
The 10-year-old girl who was shot remains in the Johnson City Medical Center. Hospital officials tell us she's in serious but stable condition.