State

Boy shoots, kills Somerset grandma after church

A Somerset grandmother was accidentally shot and killed by a juvenile passenger in her car, according to Pulaski County Sheriff Greg Speck.

The shooting happened as Eutta Phelps, 68, headed home after attending a church service in rural eastern Pulaski County Wednesday night, said Deputy Karl Clinard, spokesman for Speck’s office.

Phelps was a passenger in the front seat. One of Phelps’ grandsons was driving her 2015 Chevrolet, while another grandson and his cousin were in the back seat, where there also was a muzzle-loading pistol, Clinard said Thursday.

The two boys, ages 12 and 17, were passing the gun back and forth and did not know it was loaded, Clinard said.

The boy sitting behind Phelps fired the pistol, striking Phelps, according to a news release. Speck’s office did not provide information on whether Phelps’ grandson or his cousin had the gun when it fired.

Phelps’ 18-year-old grandson pulled over and someone called 9-1-1, Clinard said.

Deputies responded at 8:54 p.m. to a report of a possible traffic accident on Ky. 1003, but learned Phelps had been shot when they arrived, according to a news release.

An ambulance crew took Phelps to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, where she was pronounced dead.

Clinard said he understood the shot struck Phelps in the head.

The investigation is ongoing, but all evidence points to the shooting being an accident, police said.

“It’s just a tragic set of circumstances,” Clinard said. The family, he said, “is torn to pieces.”

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson

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