53 guns found in home where girl, 6, shot and killed

FRESNO, Calif.

Emily's father, Jason Lavender is divorced from the girl's mother and tells Action News there's been immense tension between himself and Emily's mother over the access their four children had to guns. Police say there were 53 of them in the house.

Emily Lavender's school experience had only been two years long, but it was long enough for the 6-year-old to leave a lasting impression on the principal at Maple Creek Elementary, Gina Kismet.

"Emily was a very sweet and a loving, loving young girl here at Maple Creek and she's going to be missed," said Kismet.

Lavender died Sunday when her half-brother somehow grabbed a semi-automatic handgun and shot Emily, right in front of her two sisters.

Police say the girls' stepfather was in another room and called 911 after finding out what happened. They say Jarred Dubois owned dozens of guns and that most -- but not all -- were locked up. Friends say he was pursuing a career in law enforcement after serving in the Marines.

Dubois paced and smoked several cigarettes while police investigated the scene on Sunday and for now, he isn't charged with any crimes -- a fact that angers Emily's father.

Jason Lavender says Dubois put Lavender's four children in a dangerous environment, exposing them all to guns to the extent that Dubois' own 2-year-old son knew how to hold it and use it. Lavender's now planning counseling to help his surviving children deal with the emotions of their sister's death.

The kids who went to school with Emily got a head start on that emotional healing. A message about Emily went home with students Tuesday, along with an offer of help from administrators.

"Letting kids and parents know that not only do you have an opportunity through your classroom teacher, but also school psychologists," said Clovis Unified spokesperson Kelly Avants. "I know we had several parents take advantage of that as well as students."

Jason Lavender can't help his own kids heal just yet. He says they're in CPS custody and he hasn't been allowed to see them. A funeral for Emily is set for this Friday, but it is not open to the public.

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