LOCAL NEWS

Woman Who Accidentally Shot, Killed Teen Shares Gun Safety Message

Nov 15, 2019, 6:25 PM | Updated: 7:21 pm

OGDEN, Utah — Kayleen Richins can never undo the mistake that took the life of 14-year-old Zackary Kempke, but she is determined to make sure others don’t have to experience the same pain and loss.

“Never in my life did I think I would be in this position,” Richins said. “We’ve always taken guns very seriously.”

Richins and her family were shooting targets in the Dairy Ridge area of the Monte Cristo Range on Sept. 23, 2018.

She said they normally checked to make sure the area was safe — but for some reason, they didn’t take that moment on this occasion.

“There were shotgun shells and clay pigeons all over, so obviously other people had been in the area, shooting,” Richins said. “It’s not an excuse. There is no excuse. We should have done our own investigation.”

Richins eventually fired the last few rounds from a hunting rifle.

“When we took our hearing protection off, we heard the screaming,” Richins said.

She wasn’t sure exactly what had happened until Zackary Kempke’s family pulled around the bend in their vehicle.

“Their Jeep pulled up on the hill above us, and we heard why they were screaming,” Richins said. “We ran up the hill to see if we could do something to help, and there was nothing that we could do.”

Zackary Kempke had been shot in the head and died instantly. Richins was ultimately required to appear in a gun safety video but said she continues to share her story and safety message because it’s important.

“Always have a backstop. Always do your own investigation,” Richins said. “Never assume an area is safe because someone’s been there before. Never assume because you’ve been in the area that you remember what it’s like.”

Richins travels all over the state sharing that message with kids as part of a Division of Wildlife Resources hunter safety program. She hands out orange bracelets that read, “No Backstop, No Shot.” Her family has also put together a website with the same name.

“As long as there’s somebody that wants to hear my message, I will come,” Richins said. “Whether it’s tomorrow or ten years from now. I don’t plan on stopping. This message needs to be out there.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Attendees at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center....
Eliza Pace

18 new temples announced during October 2022 General Conference

The locations of  18 new temples were announced during the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
16 hours ago
The 2-mile, 20-hole disc golf course at Goblin Valley State Park was renovated recently and is now ...
Brooke Williams

Newly renovated disc golf course at Goblin Valley State Park is open

 The sandstone "hoodoo" formations designated in Goblin Valley State Park are part of a disc golf course, which was recently renovated and is now open, just in time for spooky season.
16 hours ago
The crowd gathering at Washington Square to march to the Utah Capitol....
Brittany Tait

Crowd marched to Utah State Capitol in solidary with Iran

A large crowd marched from Washington Square to the steps of the Utah State Capitol on Saturday to show solidarity for those suffering in Iran.
2 days ago
Attendees at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center....
Michael Houck & Ladd Egan

Day One of 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tens of thousands gathered in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday for the 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2 days ago
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteers help clean up and repair the aftermath of Hurricane Ia...
Mike Anderson

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members help clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Ian

"As horrible as natural disasters are, you see the best of humanity," Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members gather in Florida to help clean up the mess Hurricane Ian left behind.
2 days ago
Denali Stubbs, preparing his bike for the upcoming race....
Alex Cabrero

Hildale high school bike team participates in regional race

"I just want to do the same for these kids:” a Hillside parent hopes to encourage teens in his community to dream bigger by getting involved in sports.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Woman Who Accidentally Shot, Killed Teen Shares Gun Safety Message