Girl survives being shot in head after gun discharges; gun's owner charged

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A 12-year-old girl was injured Thursday evening in an accidental shooting in the Pine Lakes neighborhood, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said the child was shot in the head, but her injuries were not life-threatening.

Investigators said she was shot when a .22-caliber rifle discharged as the child was handing it to an adult. The bullet pierced her head but somehow missed her skull.

Deputies said a 7-year-old boy in the neighborhood found the rifle in a camping bag and took it to the girl's house. She returned to his house and it went off as she handed it to the boy's mother, investigators said.

The woman said she gave the weapon to a man named Randall Cannon, who lives at the house where the shooting happened, and he took it with him, deputies said.

Cannon, the gun's owner, was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and tampering with evidence, Lake County Lt. John Herrell said.

Cannon hid the gun in the woods following the incident, but deputies recovered it Friday afternoon, Herrell said.

Paul Brantley, a neighbor, said his girlfriend was home during the shooting.

"She came running through the house saying somebody just shot into the bathroom," he said. "The bullet hit the top of her little head, like right in here, rolled around the scalp and come out the back of the scalp and I could see where it rolled cause I could feel it with my finger."

Deputies are investigating how the children had access to the gun.

"If the baby would have been 2 (feet farther) back, it would have hit her between the eyes," Brantley said. "(It's) very much a miracle. God saved that little girl for us. There's no way around it -- no way around it."