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Wednesday, July 3 2013 3:50 PM EDT2013-07-03 19:50:24 GMT
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Wednesday, July 3 2013 3:49 PM EDT2013-07-03 19:49:39 GMT
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A stray bullet took the life of 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane last Fourth of July. Her family hopes her death will spur positive changes.More >
Wednesday, July 3 2013 3:44 PM EDT2013-07-03 19:44:33 GMT
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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Two years ago Thursday a bullet fired to celebrate the Fourth of July took the life of an 11-year-old girl. Her mother is fighting for harsher penalties and sharing her grief to prevent similar tragedies.
On July 4, 2011, a group of men celebrated the Fourth of July by firing a gun into the air while they were at an east Kansas City apartment complex near the Truman Sports Complex. A bullet from the gun traveled the length of three football fields and hit and killed 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane who was celebrating with her family at a home across a medium-sized lake from the apartment complex.
Today, Blair's room is exactly how she left it before the bullet took her life two years ago.
Before that moment, Blair had dreamed of starting the nonprofit Blair's Foster Socks as part of a way to give socks to children in the foster care system. She wanted them to have something to call their own that could keep them warm.
"I was the mom who would chase her down the street and say, 'put your bike helmet on.' She didn't have a cavity," said Blair's mother, Michele Shanahan-DeMoss.
Blair's doting mother was almost always an arms' length away. She was close by when the unthinkable happened.
"It's almost as though she lifted off the ground. You could hear her body hit the ground," DeMoss said. "When she fell I lunged forward to her. When I touched her face and I kept saying 'Blair' and she wouldn't move. I rolled her over and she was hemorrhaging from her neck."
A bullet fired to celebrate Independence Day instead ended a young life.
"A bullet shouldn't be mixed into the middle of fireworks," DeMoss said.
DeMoss is fighting to stiffen the penalties for the crime that killed her daughter.
"To make the crime of firing a weapon within a municipality, within any form of celebration a felony," she explained.
Efforts to get legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly has stalled. Click here for a full text of the bill that was introduced in 2012. The portion in bold applies as "Blair's Law".
DeMoss has been meeting with lawmakers and running the charity Blair dreamed of starting.
"Everybody that knows me knows that I loved Blair here on Earth. I will never stop loving her," she said.
Four men were together at Whispering Lake Apartments firing the gun that killed Blair.
The owner of the gun, Aaron Sullivan, was charged with a felony. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and received three years in prison.
Three of the men with him were charged with misdemeanors. Two of those men received two years probation, 180 days suspended sentence and 120 hours of community service.
Two years after the shooting a warrant remains for the arrest of the third man, Marveon Skinner. DeMoss also wants to see him brought to justice.
Authorities said they would never know specifically which man fired the fatal shot.
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Two years after daughter's death, mother fights for harsher gun penaltiesMore>>