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North Carolina girl, 3, dies after accidentally shooting herself on Christmas

Aylee Gordon was the daughter of a retired sheriff's captain in Henderson County.

A 3-year-old North Carolina girl who had been hospitalized after she accidentally shot herself on Christmas Day has died, authorities said Wednesday.

The girl, Aylee Gordon, was pronounced dead Tuesday night at Mission Hospital in Asheville, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said in a written statement.

Aylee was the daughter of retired Henderson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Gordon, sheriff's spokesman Johnny Duncan said in an email.

The shooting, in the rural community of Edneyville, was reported Saturday afternoon around 2:30 p.m., the sheriff’s office said. 

According to 911 audio obtained by NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville, South Carolina, Gordon dialed emergency responders and said his family had a visitor for the holiday who accidentally left a gun in his car.

“She picked it up and it went off,” he said, according to the recording.

Gordon, who retired from the sheriff's office in 2016, drove Aylee to a fire station because he was having trouble getting cellphone reception, WYFF reported. She was then taken to Mission Hospital, about 20 miles north.

Additional details about the shooting weren't immediately available.

Possible criminal charges will be decided by the local district attorney's office or the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, the sheriff's office said.

Neither agency responded to requests seeking comment Wednesday.

This year, 1,046 children under age 11 were killed or injured by gunfire, up from 999 last year and 600 to 700 each of the six previous years, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

A report released this year by the Children's Defense Fund, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, found that gun violence was the leading cause of death for all children and teens under 19 in 2019.