Austin, Ind. man allegedly shot 4-year-old girl in head with BB - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Austin, Ind. man allegedly shot 4-year-old girl in head with BB gun

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Steven Cooney (Source: Scott County Detention Center) Steven Cooney (Source: Scott County Detention Center)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An Austin, Indiana, man is in jail -- and a 4-year-old girl is in the hospital -- after he allegedly shot the girl in the head with a BB gun.

According to court documents, it happened on Nov. 29, but the suspect was just arrested Monday night.

Police say that on Nov. 29, the Austin Police Department responded to a report that a 4-year-old girl had been shot in the head with a BB gun, and as a result, she had been flown to Norton Children's Hospital in serious condition.

According to Indiana State Police, who also began investigating the case, the suspect was 30-year-old Steven Cooney. Cooney lived on W. York Road, just east of Boatman Road, with his girlfriend and three children.

Court documents indicate that Cooney is responsible for the care of the children, while his girlfriend is at work. Police say that's when the shooting took place.

"Steven Cooney gave several versions of what occurred, but he advised me that on November 29, 2016, he was sitting in the living room of his home playing Xbox, when he noticed the BB gun sitting on top of the pantry in the kitchen," a detective wrote in a probable cause affidavit. 

Police say Cooney told them he decided to have "a little fun with the girls," so he grabbed the BB gun and chased them into the bedroom.

According to court documents, Cooney said he pumped the airgun three times, and when he got into the bedroom, he could see one child standing behind a curtain, and assumed another child -- the 4-year-old victim -- was hiding behind a box spring that was leaning against the wall.

So, knowing the 4-year-old girl could be behind the box spring, he fired the BB gun in that direction, according to police.

"However, he stated that he did not think the BB would go through the box spring," police say. "He stated that he fired the gun into the box spring to unload it. He advised that this was the only time he had ever fired the BB gun into a piece of furniture in the house to unload it."

Police say the 4-year-old -- identified only as "E.H." in the probable cause affidavit -- was shot in the head and had to be taken to Norton Children's Hospital. As of Dec. 15, she was still hospitalized according to court documents. 

"E.H. has lost consciousness," the detective wrote in the probable cause affidavit. "I have been advised that the BB struck E.H. in the temple area on the left side of her head. The BB penetrated her head and lodged into the brain. As of December 15, 2016, the BB is still located in her brain. I have been advised that the BB is lodged so deep into the brain that medical personnel are unable to remove it."

Cooney was taken into custody Monday evening. He has been charged with aggravated battery, neglect of a dependent, two counts of battery and one count of criminal recklessness. He is currently being held in the Scott County Detention Center in Indiana.

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