A father has been charged after his 4-year-old son allegedly got hold of his loaded gun and accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother.
Giovanni Smith, 26, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is accused of neglect of a child resulting in death in connection with the incident at his home on Sunday, August 1.
According to a criminal complaint, seen by TMJ4, Smith was on the phone in another room while his two children were watching TV in a bedroom at the home.
Smith told police that he heard a “pop” from the other room and walked in to find the 4-year-old child holding the gun and crying and the toddler suffering a gunshot wound.
The boy was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Smith told officers that he always kept the gun underneath a mattress and with the safety on.
However, police said the child told investigators that he found the loaded gun on top of a speaker in the bedroom on the day of the shooting. Smith reportedly said that he could have left the firearm there.
According to CBS 58, police determined the gun belonged to Smith’s mother and she purchased the black 9mm Taurus in June 2020 for protection. Smith’s mother said she allowed her son to use the gun occasionally, and asked him to take care of it around six weeks ago because she took in a foster child.
Neighbors previously described their shock after hearing that the boy had been killed.
“I don’t know what happened, and I feel real bad for the family,” Micah Meyer told Fox 6. “I wasn’t here when it happened. I just got home and taking care of him and asked police what happened. There was a shooting and I realized it’s my friend’s house.”
“I’d be devastated if it was my son,” Meyer added. “Good father, good boys. It’s just a sad story.”
Smith appeared in court on Tuesday, where a judge set his bail at $5,000. He is scheduled to appear next in court for a preliminary hearing on August 16.
If convicted, Smith could face up to 25 years in prison.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 188 children under the age of 11 who have been killed by firearms in the U.S. so far this year, with a further 477 injured.
There have also been 745 minors aged between 12 and 17 killed by guns as of August 5, according to the data.