Woman charged with negligent homicide in the death of teen boy

School portrait of Zackary Kempke

A 40-year-old Roy woman, Kayleen Richins, has been charged in the target shooting death of 14-year-old Zack Kempke. The alleged accidental shooting occurred September 23, while the victim and his family were riding between Woodruff and Huntsville, in Rich County.

Richins was charged with one count of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, in 2nd Judicial District Court Monday. The charge could carry a sentence of up to one-year in jail if convicted.

According to a sheriff’s report, Richins and her family were target practicing on the afternoon of September 23, in the Eli Ridge area of the Monte Cristo Mountain Range. The family claimed to be using paper targets on a cardboard box to sight in their hunting rifles. Beyond the targets was a road that ran through a dense forest of aspen trees.

Unbeknownst to Richins, Kempke and his family were traveling along the road at the same time, viewing the fall colors. As they were driving, a bullet pierced their Jeep and struck the boy in the head, killing him instantly.

Deputies allege that the road was not visible from where Richins fired the rifle. It would only have been known if she would have walked downrange to see what lay beyond the trees behind the targets.

In charging documents, state attorneys claim they filed the one count against Richins because she did not investigate beyond the trees. The document stated, “It was this failure to properly ascertain what was downrange of the target before setting up the target and firing the shot that led to [the victim’s] death.”

Family members described Kempke as a “loving” and “very family oriented” boy. They said the teen was very spiritual, loved video games and the band KISS.


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