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911 call: Girl, 3, shot herself after picking up loaded pistol in back seat of pickup truck

A 3½-year-old girl accidentally shot herself in the head after she had ridden her new bicycle on Christmas Day and then picked up the loaded 9-mm pistol in the backseat of her father’s pickup truck, the father told an emergency dispatcher.

The girl, the daughter of retired Henderson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Gordon, and his wife, Anya Kizyaeva Gordon, remained in critical condition at Mission Hospital in Asheville on Monday night.
Sheriff Lowell Griffin, who served as a deputy alongside Gordon before Griffin left the department in 2014, turned the case over to the SBI because of their connection. Griffin was elected sheriff in 2018, two years after Gordon retired.
“The only thing I can tell you, because we turned the case over to the North Carolina SBI, is Tim Gordon retired in 2016,” Griffin said in an interview Monday night. “I can’t give any other details of the case other than to tell you that that was not a weapon from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.”
Gordon, as his wife was holding the injured child in the backseat, was driving his Dodge Dakota pickup down Gilliam Mountain Road to the Edneyville Fire & Rescue station on U.S. 64 at 2:46 p.m. Saturday when he called 911.
“She picked up a pistol and shot herself in the head by accident,” he told the dispatcher. “We didn’t know” the handgun was there. “We had a visitor visiting for Christmas and he went in the car and I didn’t know it and she picked it up and it went off.”
Where, the dispatcher asked, did this happen?
“In the truck right there on the side of the road because we stopped to let her ride her new bicycle,” he said. “She had a bike wreck … and she climbed in the truck and there was a gun there and there it went.”
Griffin said that Gordon and his wife and family were extremely distraught over the accident and the severe injury to their daughter, Aylee.
“It’s a tragic, tragic accident and incident I think once it’s all released, it was just several different circumstances that came together on this holiday to lead to this tragedy,” he said.
I will say that it was reported to us that it did occur in a vehicle but I’m just afraid anything I say” could compromise the department’s neutrality. “There’s some delicate interviews they’re going to have to do.”

Family friends who created a gofundme site pleaded for prayers for Aylee. When the little girl arrived at Mission, the chief neurosurgeon was on duty and performed the surgery. An update Sunday on the gofundme page said "the pressure on Aylee's brain is very high, and the next 48 hours are very critical. Her doctors are doing everything they can to keep her as stable as possible. From Tim and Anya, 'We need a miracle for our precious little girl.'"

Tim and Anya remain at Aylee's bedside while also caring for their 6-year-old son, an update said. "Aylee's parents have been strong leaders in our community, in law enforcement, and in foster care," it said. "They have supported many families and children in their community. During this critical time for their beautiful little girl and family, let's support them with our love, prayers, and financial support. They are eternally grateful for every prayer and donation."