A conversation between Sean Smith, 36, and his mother Lee in which they discussed the tragic death of Erin Smith (Sean’s sister and Lee’s daughter), on June 5, 1989.

On that day, Sean, 10, and Erin, 8, returned from school to their empty home and began searching in their parents’ bedroom for video games that had recently been taken away from them. While rummaging through their father’s dresser, they came across a .38-caliber revolver which Sean—not knowing it was loaded—began playing with. The gun then went off, fatally wounding Erin.

In the moments that followed, Sean made a desperate call to 911 (an excerpt of that recording is included in this story), but Erin died before help could arrive.

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In this podcast, we hear from Sean and Lee as they remember the day of the shooting, and how they have tried to cope with the burden of going on with their lives.

We also hear from Jud Esty-Kendall who, along with Andrés Caballero, produced the piece for StoryCorps. In his conversation, Jud shares additional audio and discusses some the history and context that did not make it into the broadcast. He also goes into greater detail about how the shooting has shaped the lives of the four surviving members of the Smith family over the past quarter-century.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
Boom Bip “The Use Of Unnacceptable Colours In Nature”
Chris Zabriskie “I am a Man Who Will Fight for Your Honor”
Action Davis “Deep Thoughts”
Top: Sean and Erin Smith together at home on June 4, 1989, one day before the shooting. (Photo Courtesy of Lee Smith)