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Georgia 5-year-old shot, killed by her 3-year-old cousin, police say

South Fulton Police Chief Keith Meadows said the gun belonged to the toddler's father, who is Khalis' uncle.

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — We're learning more information about the five-year-old Fulton County girl shot and killed on Thanksgiving.

The City of South Fulton Police Chief Keith Meadows tells 11Alive the person who shot little Khalis Eberhart in the chest was her three-year-old cousin, and the gun belonged to the young boy's father, who is Khalis' uncle.

It happened at the Gardens at Camp Creek Apartment Homes around 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The family said it was all a tragic accident. 

Chief Meadows said the little girl was rushed to a local hospital, where she later died. 

A sea of candles, a trio of teddy bears, and dozens of loved ones holding balloons came together Saturday evening at a vigil to remember a young life gone too soon. 

“We have to celebrate the life she has lived on this earth for five years. That’s all we can do, and that’s all the memories we have of her on this earth for five years," said Cynthia Bell, a family friend. 

“I don’t think anyone can imagine losing a five-year-old," Khalis' paternal grandmother Tracy Towns said.

That pain is real for Towns.

“Khalis was a very vibrant little girl. She was very charismatic," Towns said. "She was very smart, and she just liked to stay busy. She always liked to be doing something.”

Towns said their family has already dealt with a lot of tragedy this year. Khalis' mother died earlier this year, leaving her father, Nathaniel Eberhart, to care for three young children on his own. Eberhart shed tears at his daughter's candlelight vigil.

The little girl leaves behind a six-year-old brother and her twin, who's distraught over her death.

“Her and her twin had a great bond," Towns said. "When you saw one, you saw the other one. They were always holding hands, hugging. They were always together. They talked to one another. They had a language that nobody else could understand.”

"Right now we’re in the holiday season, and our children are home from school," Chief Meadows said. "We understand everybody’s right to bear arms, but we would implore parents to be particularly aware of gun safety. If you don’t have a lockbox, get a gun lock. If you don’t have a gun lock, then please consider unloading the weapon."

The family remembers Khalis' infectious spirit and warm smile as they reflect on her life and mourn her tragic death.

The family will plan Khalis' funeral on Monday. They've set up a GoFundMe page to pay for expenses.