ROSEVILLE, CA - Members of the Placer County Sheriff's Department banded together Wednesday after one of its deputies lost a child when she accidentally shot herself with her father's gun.
According to the Sacramento County Coroner's office, 3-year-old Kalli Skogen died Tuesday from a gunshot to her abdomen. The coroner said that bullet traveled through her chest.
Roseville investigators identified the child's father as Ken Skogen, a deputy with the Placer County Sheriff's Department.
Josh Tindall, president of the Placer County Deputy Sheriff's Association, said in a statement that the Skogan family thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers.
"No words can explain what has happened beyond saying that it was a tragic accident," said Tindall. "The anguish that the family, their friends, and coworkers are experiencing cannot be expressed and we ask you all for your support and understanding."
"To the Fire, EMS, police, and Cal-Star air ambulance personnel and the staff at both Sutter Roseville Medical Center and UC Davis Medical Center who gave their very best in a dire time of need, we cannot state enough the sincere appreciation and gratitude we have for all of you."
Kalli was in the garage with her father around 6 p.m. Tuesday when she found the loaded gun and fired a shot, according to Roseville police. Lt. Mike Doane. Doane said Wednesday the firearm was not the deputy's service revolver, but a personal .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Once investigators determine exactly what happened, charges could be filed, Doane said.
Doane said California has a basic gun law, which prohibits accessibility to children. He said if a child is killed in the incident, the charge could become a felony.
However, Doane also said the burden of proof is much higher because the victim is the gun owner's child.
"The legislature is probably taking into account that the family has lost their child," said Doane. "There is nothing that anybody can do or say to them that's going to take that pain and suffering away."
The increased burden of proof means a longer investigation period, allowing the Placer County district attorney's office more time to determine whether charges will be filed.
"We want to make sure it's thorough and the district attorney's office has the complete picture of what happened so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not the burden of proof was met in this particular case," said Doane.
Investigators on the scene said Skogen had taken gun safety classes and evidence at the home indicated he took gun safety very seriously.
"This person, the adult in the residence, had definitely taken steps to keep this firearm away from children," said Roseville police Sgt. Darrin DeFreece. "So now what we're looking into is what happened to those safeguards that he had already put into place."
It wasn't long ago that Skogen was called a hero by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Skogen rescued an elderly woman from her burning house during the 49 Fire in Auburn last August.
According to the Placer County Sheriff's Department, Skogen has been with the department three years and is on bereavement leave.
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