Crickett Firearms, the brand that produces the “My First Rifle” line of guns designed for youth shooters, has pulled all its websites offline in the aftermath of a shooting last week in which a 5-year-old Kentuckian, who had been given a Crickett rifle as a gift, fatally shot his 2-year-old sister.
The shooting -- described by Cumberland County Coroner Gary White as “just one of those crazy accidents” -- took place while the children’s mother was standing outside their house on the porch. She told police she had been gone for “no more than three minutes,” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The gun, a .22-caliber rifle designed for children, had reportedly been kept in a corner of the home. White said the Starks family told police they had not known there was a shell left in it.
In the media flurry since the shooting, Keystone Sporting Arms LLC -- the company behind the Crickett Firearms brand -- has kept comparatively quiet, but it has removed the brand’s website and Facebook page. The website for Crickett rifles, distributed by retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), was taken down Wednesday, along with its Facebook page. The site had boasted a page of testimonials from parents who had purchased Crickett rifles for their children, and a “Kid’s Corner” filled with photos of young children and even toddlers holding Crickett’s signature “My First Rifle.”
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An attorney for Keystone, John Renzulli, told Mother Jones that the brand’s website was down because it had been “inundated and corrupted” by a flood of visitors. “We’re working hard with the host to get it up again,” Renzulli said, although he did not comment on when the site would be back or why the brand had also removed its Facebook page.
Renzulli added that while Caroline Starks’ death ignited strong emotions, politicizing her death or using it to raise a conversation about gun control would be inappropriate.
“This is not about Crickett Firearms,” Renzulli told Mother Jones. “We need to respect the privacy of these people; this family is going through a lot. We're not going to analyze and evaluate what happened here until a full investigation has been conducted by law enforcement. At that point, we'll comment.”