According to a police report provided by the Sharp County Sheriff's Department, Stephania Hammond, of Hardy had stopped by to visit with a former home health client with her son and one of his friends. Hammond stopped at the residence of John Sitz on Highway 63 in Williford to complete paperwork to once again be his home health nurse.
The report states that Hammond was sitting in a wheelchair near a table where Sitz had a 22 Magnum derringer four shot pistol he had bought at a gun and knife show.
Sitz told authorities she was sitting in the living room about to smoke a cigarette when he heard a loud bang.
He said she said, "Damn lighter." and threw it onto the bed. She then fell into unconsciousness with an apparent gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Spring River Paramedic and Ambulance Service, first responders and Sharp County criminal investigators Mark Counts, Ken Guidry and David Huffmaster responded.
Initially, Air Evac was called, but due to the seriousness of the incident and the time required to get the helicopter to the residence, the decision was made to transport her to Lawrence County Memorial. Records from Sharp County Dispatch indicate that Hammond died five minutes into the trip to the hospital.
Sitz admitted the gun belonged to him and was a very small 22 that he kept under his pillow.
It is believed she thought the pistol was a lighter as, according to Det. Sgt. Ken Guidry, Hammond collected lighters that looked like guns.
The investigation into Hammond's death is ongoing.