A 6-year-old boy fatally shot his toddler brother while playing ‘cops and robbers’ in Chicago, Ill., Monday.
The gun belongs to the children’s father, Michael Santiago, who was a former member of a gang and was in fear for his life.
Joseph DiBella, the prosecutor, told a Cook County courtroom the gun was kept for protection.
“In a videotape statement the defendant said he kept the gun for protection, because he was a former gang member who snitched on a gang member in a murder trial,” DiBella said. “The gun was purchased off the street and was kept loaded. It was wrapped in pajama pants on top of the refrigerator.”
Joseph DiBella also stated that about a week prior to the shooting, Santiago showed where he kept the gun to his oldest son and explained to the six-year-old that the gun was only to be used by adults.
Recently in Tallahassee, a 3-year-old accidentally shot and killed himself with his uncle’s gun in his grandmother’s home.
Tallahassee Police Department spokesperson, David Northway advised people with loaded guns at home to make sure they are in a locked box.
“Make sure the gun is out of reach of children,” Northway expressed. “Better yet, keep the gun unloaded and the ammunition locked up separately.”
The state of Florida is among the 14 states that hold adults criminally liable if they fail to store guns safely, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Illinois is also included in those 14 states.
After Santiago’s attorney asked for a lower bond, Judge James Brown took pity on Michael Santiago so the father could be with his grieving family.
In the courtroom, Judge Brown stated that this event was the ultimate tragedy.
“I’m sure the defendant did not intend for this to happen, but it happened,” Brown said. “And that’s what happens when people have guns who shouldn’t have guns.”
The victim’s brother is unaware of the effects of the shooting and believes that his younger brother is sick in the hospital.