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Centralia Woman Dies After Being Shot By Her Father

March 31, 2013

A 21-year-old Centralia woman is dead after being shot once in the chest by her father who thought the gun was unloaded.

Chelsea Wilkins of the 1300 block of Short Street was pronounced dead in the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital when efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. Her father, 57-year-old Charles Wilkins, has been arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail on charges of involuntary manslaughter and having an expired fire owners identification card.

Charles told police he had pointed the nine millimeter handgun during past discussions and clicked the trigger to make his point. He told police he doesn’t know how the gun got loaded. Charles says the two loaded magazines were still sitting in the location where he keeps his guns.

Charles said he and his daughter were having a discussion of having to ‘clean up for each other’ at the time the gunshot was fired. Wilkins said after hearing the gunshot he still couldn’t believe what happened and asked his daughter if she had been shot. The blood then made it clear to Wilkins what happened and he called police for help.

Police Captain Richard Densmore says Wilkins was very cooperative with the investigation and gave police permission to search his home. Two other long guns that were in the home were also removed, although they were not involved in the shooting. Charles fire owners identification card reportedly expired in 2008.

Police report the two are the only ones who live in the residence. Chelsea had apparently just returned home. They talked outside before the discussion moved inside. Police say she was sitting at the kitchen table when the shot was fired. Densmore says after emergency medical technicians on the scene were unsuccessful in reviving Chelsey, she was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital.

Densmore says if Charles is being truthful, it was a ‘crazy thing to do with a gun’. He adds Charles ‘is not the type of person to be arrested’.

The shooting was reported at 12:16 Saturday afternoon. Centralia Police are hoping to find other witnesses who can verify if Hayes had used a gun in that manner before. 

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