An 11-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of shooting dead an eight-year-old girl who lived next door in the US state of Tennessee.

The boy, who has not been named, has been charged with first-degree murder as a juvenile.

The police say the suspect shot McKayla Dyer on Saturday evening following a row when she refused to let him see her puppy.

Dyer’s mother told local television new station WATE-TV that the pair both went to the same school in the town of White Pine, about 42 miles west of Knoxville, where her daughter was bullied by the boy.

She said:

“He was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her. I had to go to the principal about him and he quit for a while and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her.

“She was a precious little girl. She was mommy’s girl. No matter how bad of a mood you were in, she could always make you smile.”

The murder raises further questions about the ease of access to guns in the US, following a recent mass shooting in Oregon.

According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data on gun violence in the US, 10,093 people have been killed by guns in the US so far this year, of which 559 were under the age of 11.

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