COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX) -- The owner of the weapon that killed 7-year-old Juliet Lynch didn't have a loaded handgun in his trunk, it was an assault rifle.
"It always hurts when I see children, at whatever age killed by the irresponsibility of another individual," said Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.
Seven-year-old Juliet Lynch was at a birthday party with her brothers and sisters when she was shot.
Investigators say a 5-year-old boy went into the trunk of a car in hopes to get his toy gun. Instead he pulled the trigger to a FEG 7.62MM assault rifle, killing Juliet and shooting another 5-year-old in the arm.
"It's more of what we would refer to as an assault weapon, it's not a weapon that individuals would use for hunting or those types of purposes."
Metts says ATF is now involved; meaning the owner of the weapon can face even tougher charges.
"The person who owned the weapon and carried the weapon to the birthday party is a convicted felon and so ATF will be able to adopt the case and there will be much more severe penalties in the federal system vs. the stat system."
In this case the gun should not have even been in the trunk, but the owner is cooperating with investigators.
Even thought this is a tragic event, Metts believes it's an example of what can happen when you don't lock and store weapons properly.
"You can use trigger locks, you can take the magazine out from semi-automatics and separate it from the gun, you can put it in gun boxes or safes."
The funeral for Juliet will be Saturday at 1PM at the Gibson Cemetery in West Columbia.
The family has also set up a fund at Wells Fargo to help with funeral costs.
If you would like to donate go to any Wells Fargo and ask to make a donation to the account named: Donation for Juliet Lynch.