Man facing federal charge in connection to girl's shooting death - WSMV News 4

Man facing federal charge in connection to shooting death of 7-year-old girl

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Anthony Sanders (Source: Metro Nashville PD) Anthony Sanders (Source: Metro Nashville PD)
Harmony Warfield died after being shot by her cousin. (Source: WSMV) Harmony Warfield died after being shot by her cousin. (Source: WSMV)

An arrest has been made in connection with the shooting death of 7-year-old Harmony Warfield.

Harmony was shot and killed at the Napier Homes on June 6.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 27-year-old Anthony Sanders has been arrested for being a convicted felon with a firearm. Police say his gun was used to kill the 7-year-old.

The ATF and the Metro Nashville Police Department arrested Sanders on Wednesday at the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The complaint says Harmony's 2-year-old cousin got Sanders' gun and accidentally shot the girl in the head.

Police say he was outside during the shooting and came inside the home and saw the girl lying on the kitchen floor. A neighbor was trying to help the girl. The complaint says, "Sanders gave the victim a kiss and told her he was sorry and then ran out the door." He said he could not go back to prison. The neighbor stayed with Harmony while the ambulance came, her aunt had called 9-1-1. 

"He knew that he was in essence responsible for what happened because it was his gun that he had left out carelessly for this child to shoot another child with," Smith said. 

The federal complaint notes that several people in Napier homes had seen Sanders with guns before. One resident told investigators Sanders had "a Glock handgun with an extended magazine as well as a Springfield XD with a larger extended magazine." Other residents also noted they had seen Sanders with those two guns. 

Police say Sanders stayed at Harmony's aunt's home a few times out of the week had spent the night there on June 5th. The aunt says she did not see him with a gun that day, but he sometimes places one in a cabinet above a washing machine.

The complaint says one resident "had spoken with Sanders in the past telling [him] not to bring guns around there because of all of the little kids that lie in that row of apartments."

"Numerous people saw him with a firearm in the time leading up to this tragedy, and if any of them had called the police and Mr. Sanders would have been arrested with that firearm, this never would have happened," Smith said. 

At one point Harmony's aunt recalled an incident where her 2-year-old son saw Sanders' gun and wanted to play with it, thinking it was a toy like he had seen in video games. His mother asked Sanders not to bring guns in her house anymore and he said "ok," according to the complaint. 

Investigators say Sanders should not have had a gun to begin with because of his felony conviction.

Sanders was recently released from prison after being sentenced eight years for kidnapping. 

Davidson County Court Records show Sanders's friend went to Riverchase apartments to beat and kill a woman in 2008.

Police say Sanders helped his friend stuff the women in the trunk of a car.

Davidson County Criminal Court records show Sanders has been arrested several times since 2005 on charges including domestic assault, cocaine possession, evading arrest aggravated robbery, repeatedly driving on a revoked license, and several probation violations 

He was just released from prison on the kidnapping conviction in June of last year.

U.S. Attorney Jack Smith said the magnitude of the tragedy prompted the feds to aggressively pursue charges. Smith says the department is still investigating. He hopes this case brings about public discourse on the subject and ultimately change. 

"If you see or know of somebody in your community who is illegally possessing a firearm, don't think that's a victimless crime," Smith said. Don't think this tragedy is not going to happen...We need community cooperation and involvement. We need to all take responsibility as a collective community. If you see someone, a convicted felon with a firearm, you need to call police because if something bad happens, later on, we will all ask ourselves what could we have done and in this," he later added.

Sanders was in federal court for an initial appearance on Thursday morning.

The ATF has a free mobile app called "ATF Tips" where tips can be reported anonymously. Information can be found at here.

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