Police tape prevents pedestrians from walking down Tuxedo Street. In the fourth house down, a 4-year-old boy was shot with a rifle by his 4-year-old female cousin. (Jose Juarez / Special to The Detroit News)
Detroit— Two people connected to the accidental shooting death of a 4-year-old boy were arrested Friday, police said.
The boy was pronounced dead Thursday at Henry Ford Hospital after being shot by his 4-year-old female cousin while they and a third child watched television in the bedroom of a west side home on Tuxedo Street.
On Friday, police said they arrested a man and woman connected with the case but declined to identify their relationship to the children involved.
“A female has been arrested on a felony warrant unrelated to the case,” Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said. “A male was arrested and charged with being a felon in possession (of a firearm).”
Police said one of the three children watching TV together in a bedroom found the rifle and began playing with it about 4:50 p.m. The children’s grandfather was at home when the rifle discharged and killed the 4-year-old boy, police said.
“One of the 4-year-olds found a long gun, pulled it out, and shot her cousin,” Woody said.
A 5-year-old sister of the boy was present during the shooting as well.
An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday, Wayne County medical examiner’s spokeswoman Mary Mazur said.
Woody has said it’s too early to tell whether police will seek further charges against anyone for allowing the children access to the firearm. It it not known to whom the rifle belonged or where it had been stored.
The porch light was on Friday at the brick home where the tragedy occurred, although no one answered the door. A well-beaten path of footprints was in the snow leading to and from the house in the 7100 block of Tuxedo.
Neighbors were shocked in the hours after the accident.
“You hear about this type of thing happening, but when it actually happens on your block, it’s like, wow,” said Dennis Queensbury, who watched police officers around the house late Thursday.
“It doesn’t seem criminal, just accidental,” Woody said. “It’s real tragic.”
The boy was taken to Henry Ford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
For a city marked by violence, the shooting was especially shocking.
“What’s a 4-year-old doing with a gun anyway?” asked a neighbor, Lorenzo Wilson.
The grandfather has been a longtime renter ofthe well-kept brown brick home in a neighborhood dotted with dilapidated houses and the occasional gang graffiti. Nearby, a Catholic school serves as a stately landmark and a large church’s purple neon sign proclaims “Jesus is Love.”
Wilson, who lives around the corner from the shooting, described the area as “old and abandoned.” The children’s grandfather is known in the neighborhood as Mr. Roberts, a military veteran in his 60s.
“I’m so sorry for the family,” Queensbury said.
Neighbors Thursday night peered past the flood of police lights and crime tape and watched as police conducted their investigation, moving in and out of the house.
Dennis Clayton, 55, who has lived in the neighborhood for 33 years, walked through driving snow and wind with his cane. “That’s messed up ...” he said of the shooting. The grandfather, he said, is “a good guy — a pillar of the community.”
Associated Press contributed.