Detroit — Police were still searching Monday for the grandfather of Jamel Witcher, the 4-year-old boy who was accidentally shot and killed by his 4-year-old cousin last week.
Harvey Witcher, 55, was charged Saturday with involuntary manslaughter and is also being charged as a habitual felon. Witcher has previous convictions that include armed robbery and carrying concealed weapons.
“We’re still looking for him,” Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said.
Prosecutors say he and two other adults were home Thursday afternoon while Jamel, his 5-year-old sister and his 4-year-old female cousin watched television in a bedroom at the home in the 7100 block of Tuxedo.
The 4-year-old girl found a loaded rifle in the room and shot Jamel in the chest while the adults should have been watching the kids, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. Jamel was pronounced dead Thursday at Henry Ford Hospital.
A local church said it’s raising money to help pay for Jamel’s burial.
Jamel’s reported grandmother, Patricia Johnson, 53, and Robert B. Richardson, 66, also were home when the shooting occurred, according to authorities. The two were arraigned Sunday on involuntary manslaughter charges in 34th District Court, and also were charged as habitual offenders.
They face up to 22½ years in prison if convicted.
It was unclear what crimes Johnson and Richardson had been convicted of, since they don’t appear on the Michigan Department of Corrections website, and neither corrections officials nor prosecutors were available for comment Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Solomon Kinloch Jr., pastor at Triumph Church in Detroit, announced Monday the congregation is raising money for the boy’s burial.
“No parent should ever have to worry about how to bury a 4-year old boy,” Kinloch said in a statement.
“And as long as I’m pastor at Triumph Church, we’re going to make sure that this family does not have to worry about it either.”
To donate, click on the church’s website, www.TriumphCh.org/JamelJr.