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.
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.”
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.”
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.”