Janae Hairston, a 16-year-old Ohio girl, was accidentally shot dead by her father when he mistook her for an intruder, according to police.

The high school junior entered her Columbus home early Wednesday morning, which set off the home security system, officials said. 

Her father, who was not named by authorities and who has not been criminally charged, allegedly shot the teen under the assumption she was breaking in. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died from her wounds later that morning. 

Janae Hairston Accidentally Shot by her Father

According to local reports, Columbus police received a call at 4:30 Wednesday morning from Hairston’s mother, whose name has also not been released. 

Her husband, she said, shot someone in the garage who he believed to be a stranger. It was their daughter, 16-year-old Janae. 

“My husband made a mistake and shot her because he thought she was an intruder,” she said, adding that she believed the girl was shot in the chest. “She was in our garage and my husband just didn’t know what was going on. Oh, my God.”

In a heartbreaking 911 call first obtained by the Columbus Dispatch, her father is reportedly heard asking Janae what she was doing in the garage. Through the eight-minute call, both parents are heard begging the unconscious teen to wake up and pleading with dispatchers to send help faster. 

“Breathe, baby,” her father reportedly said during the call. 

When emergency personnel arrived at the southeast side home only six minutes later, Janae was in critical condition but still alive. She was transported to Mount Carmel East Hospital, but deteriorated rapidly and was pronounced dead about an hour after checking in, the newspaper reported. 

Columbus, Ohio police arrived to the home of Janae Hairston in this neighborhood just minuts after she was accidentally shot by her father.
Columbus, Ohio police arrived to the home of Janae Hairston in this southeast side suburb just minutes after she was accidentally shot in the garage of her home. Her father believed his daughter was an intruder. Photo credit; Google Maps

No Charges Filed Yet in Death of Daughter

According to news reports and a social media post from Columbus police, no charges have been filed against Janae’s father for her death. 

Detectives said they are investigating the fatal shooting and will forward their findings to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office for review. 

Deputy Chief Tim Becker, head of the Columbus Police Department’s Investigative Unit, noted the victim’s young age in an interview with local outlet ABC 6

“These kids have such a bright future in front of them. To have that prematurely taken away is extra tragic,” he said. “[I]n any case, if you are the one pulling the trigger on a gun it is really important to know what your target is.”

Janae Hairston, a 16-year-old Ohio girl, was shot dead by her father who thought she was an intruder. Her mother, left, called emergency personnel, who declared her daughter dead an hour later. Photo credit: Instagram
Janae Hairston, a 16-year-old Ohio girl, was shot dead in her Columbus home. Her mother, pictured with her face obscured, told 911 operators her husband shot their daughter thinking she was an intruder. She died an hour later. Photo credit: Instagram

Victim is Mourned by the Community

Janae Hairston was a junior at Canal Winchester High School at the time of her death. According to her social media accounts, the 16-year-old was trying to get her first job and was deciding where she wanted to go to college in the years ahead. 

In a statement issued later on Wednesday, the Canal Winchester School District expressed grief and shock at the teen’s sudden passing. 

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and our thoughts, prayers, and support are with them,” district officials wrote in the statement, which was issued before the facts of Janae’s death were released.

“We are saddened by this tragic loss and will make every effort to help students and families cope.”

Janae Hairston, 16, was shot dead by her father who mistook her for an intruder. Authorities have not filed charges in the death of his daughter, but are investigating.
Janae Hairston, 16, was shot dead by her father who mistook her for an intruder. Authorities have not filed charges in the death of his daughter, but are investigating. Photo credit; Instagram

Jeff Hodge, a neighbor of the Hairstons, was dismayed by news of the teen’s death. 

“It hurts bad because they are real good friends with us,” he told reporters. “Mom and dad and the girl — we knew them all. My wife was crying, you know.” 

“Just beginning life,” he added. “I just don’t understand it.”