Strasburg woman accidentally shot by grandchild

A Strasburg woman was shot in Rippon, West Virginia, on Tuesday afternoon when a gun her 18-year-old grandchild was handling in a car accidentally went off.

Debra C. Hill, 61, suffered a non-life threatening gunshot injury while in the passenger seat of a vehicle with her granddaughter, Niya Williamson, 23. Williamson was driving and Hill’s grandson, Ladell Hill, 18, was in the back seat.

Sgt. Steven Holz of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said the gun fired from the backseat into the passenger seat at some point during their drive.

The grandchildren called 911 and reported that Debra Hill had gotten out of the car because she was not feeling well, and had been shot while outside of the car,  Holz said. Authorities directed the grandchildren to Jefferson Medical Center as Williamson, from Strasburg, and Ladell Hill, from Clinton, Maryland, were unfamiliar with the area.

After the three arrived at the hospital, deputies questioned the grandchildren about what happened. Both told the same story –  that their grandmother had exited the vehicle and was shot. An investigation of their vehicle told a different story, Holz said.

“It was pretty evident that the gunshot had come from the back seat to the front seat,” Holz said.

Williamson and Ladell Hill were charged with misdemeanor obstruction of justice, and were released on bond from Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg. The case is still pending, and Holz said that they are not seeking any additional charges against the two.

“I think it was just an unfortunate accident, and there was no malicious intent on behalf of either grandchild,” Holz said. “There’s no information at this point to think it was anything more than just an accidental discharge of the firearm in the vehicle.”

The firearm was never recovered in the vehicle or in a search of the area where the incident may have happened, Holz said. Debra Hill was released from the hospital on Tuesday night.