The girl’s father and mother were both injured, but the girl’s eight-year-old sibling managed to escape and raise the alarm.
Prosecutors say an 11-year-old British girl was fatally shot in her garden in France after her father’s work on some shrubbery inflamed an ongoing dispute.
Saturday around 10 p.m., Solenne Thornton was killed while playing outside her residence in Saint-Herbot, a village near Quimper in Brittany.
A 71-year-old Dutch neighbor is accused of firing multiple bullets that struck Solenne and her parents.
Celeste, her eight-year-old sibling, was not struck and managed to raise the alarm.
According to local officials, there were disputes between the residents over a fence and a piece of land.
Prosecutor Camille Miansoni told reporters that “the father of the family was trimming the hedges separating the two properties, which aggravated the situation.”
“The suspect then took a loaded 22mm rifle and fired three to four shots at the three victims,” he said.
Mr. Miansoni stated that there was no evidence that the suspect had psychological issues or that he targeted the girl specifically.
According to France 3 television, Solenne’s father, Adrian Thornton, is in critical condition and her mother, Rachel, has non-life-threatening injuries.
Reportedly, both are in their forties.
Both daughters were born in France, and it is believed that the family had resided at the residence for four or five years.
“When we heard the fringe, we assumed that children were playing with bangers,” resident Yannick told Le Telegramme de Brest.
The child then rushed into a neighbor’s home crying, “My sister is dead!”
Prosecutor Carine Halley said a gendarmerie tactical squad and negotiator convinced the neighbour and his wife to surrender.
She stated that the motive was currently unknown, but cited a protracted dispute over some land.
According to one neighbor, the conflict with the Dutchman began when they “felled all the trees that bothered them.”
On the night of the shooting, a neighbour noticed the family under their oak tree.
Marguerite Bleuzen, the mayor of Plonevez-du-Faou, said the families had been in “conflict” for years, but police had never intervened.
However, she stated that villagers regularly reported “tense exchanges” between them.
Ms. Bleuzen added, “He even once drew his firearm.”
“Had we known, we would have reported it to the gendarmerie, the firearm would have been confiscated, and we likely wouldn’t be in this situation now.”