A Chicago man, whose 6-year-old son shot his 3-year-old brother with a gun, was jailed.
Michael Santiago was charged with one count of felony child endangerment. The incident resulted in the death of Eian Santiago by a loaded firearm that was kept on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen of Santiago’s West Side home, Chicago police said. Santiago’s 6-year-old found the gun and accidentally shot Eian in the head. Eian was taken to a trauma center in the area but was pronounced dead upon arrival.
According to Chicago Tribune, the two boys were playing “cops and robbers” at the time of the shooting. The gun had been bought by Santiago, who purchased it off the street and kept it “wrapped in pajama pants on top of the refrigerator,” Assistant state’s Attorney, Joseph DiBella, said at a court hearing. “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 in court. A videotaped confession showed Santiago admitting that he possessed the firearm.
Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, said that much of the violent crime in Chicago has been as a result of the influx of illegal guns into the city. In a telephonic interview, McCarthy said, “It’s real simple, if that gun is not in the house that kid is alive today. We see this happen over and over and over again.” The police department has seized in excess of 5,500 illegal weapons this year, as reported by ABC News. This year has seen more homicides in Chicago as of October 4 than for the same period last year – the number stood at 370 for this year, while last year it was 306. Moreover, the number of incidents for the same period this year was recorded at 1,870, while last year it was 1,581.
In 2010, 2,694 children and teens died as a result of shooting incidents in the United States, juvenile advocacy group Children’s Defense Fund says. A 2014 report on accidental shooting deaths of under 14-year-old children revealed that nearly two-thirds of accidental child deaths occurred in family’s homes or vehicles. The report further showed that more than two-thirds of these deaths could have been prevented if the weapon wasn’t kept in the open and had been locked away.