CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. -- A Cleveland County man was shot and killed by his 11-year-old step-daughter Friday in what the sheriff is calling a "tragic accident."
Bryan Scott Reno, 19, died late Friday night while showing a gun he had just purchased to his step-daughter. The girl's mother had gone to bed.
According to Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman, Reno had removed the clip from the .380 caliber handgun before handing it to his step-daughter, who was not named. The gun fired while the girl was holding it, hitting and killing Reno.
Sheriff Norman said at a press conference Saturday that the tragedy affects the whole community, especially the little girl.
"To see how this can affect a child," said Norman, "and you don't know what adverse effect it's going to have on that child later in life."
The family's landlord, Jeanette Bridges, said the Reno's had just moved to a home near Mooresboro, about 10 miles west of Shelby, three weeks ago. They moved into a mobile home Bridges owned on rolling pastures in the Cleveland County countryside.
"Very sweet -- very, very sweet couple -- and the little girl just was precious, 11 years old," said Bridges. "It just absolutely floored me. I couldn't believe that this had happened."
Bridges called the shooting a terrible accident, but added that she had grandchildren at her house and doesn't own a gun because she's afraid of something like this happening.
"Babies don't understand," she said. "Even a child who's 11 years old didn't understand, apparently."
Norman said he doesn't expect to file any charges in the shooting.