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Family, friends mourn 3-year-old killed in accidental shooting

Posted at 10:55 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-09 01:17:28-04

MOUNT HEALTHY, Ohio -- Three-year-old Damia Barnett's smile could light up a room, her grandmother said Monday night. Neither she nor Damia's parents will ever see it in person again.

The family, their neighbors and the Rev. Peterson Mingo gathered for a vigil in remembrance of the toddler, who Mount Healthy police believe fatally shot herself by accident inside a Clovercreek Avenue apartment complex Oct. 6. Her mother was in the building at the time, police said.

Mingo, whose dedication to reducing crime and gun violence has made him a frequent presence at vigils like Damia's, memorialized the girl and attempted to articulate the pain felt by her parents.

"The future for that person is lost," Mingo said. "The dreams you had for that child are never going to materialize. All you're left is what-could-have-beens." 

According to police, the gun with which Damia shot herself had been legally purchased by an adult in her home. 

Mount Healthy police Chief Vincent Demasi, who helped conduct the initial investigation alongside Hamilton County deputies, said Saturday his department planned to pass the case forward to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. 

Deters said his office had yet to receive it as of Monday evening. 

In the meantime, Damia's family hopes to raise money for a home-going service in her honor. Anyone interested in donating can do so via GoFundMe.