Detroit — A 9-year-old boy fatally shot himself with a shotgun Monday at a home on the city’s west side, according to police.
The boy’s father was arrested later Monday on an unrelated charge, said Officer Shanelle Williams, a police spokeswoman. Williams said she didn’t know what the charge involved.
The incident marked the fifth time this year a child younger than 10 was shot in Detroit. In one incident, Elijah Walker, 3, was killed Aug. 3 when his 11-year-old brother was playing with a gun.
In Monday’s shooting, the boy’s father, who wasn’t identified, and a “sibling or two” were in the home near Livernois and Tireman at the time of the shooting, Police Chief James Craig said at the scene.
Craig wouldn’t say where the boy shot himself and added it was “premature” to say if charges will be filed.
He noted the gun was believed to be the father’s.
The chief also said it was uncertain where the gun was stored or how the boy would have access to it.
“We love you,” cousin Kiara Head screamed as the boy’s body was taken from the house on the 6600 block of Barton.
She described him as rambunctious and active.
“He was never scared,” Head said. “He was little, but he was the big guy,” always playing, teasing and running around. “There won’t be another like him.”
“Sad he had to leave on a mistake like this.”
Another cousin, Erica Head, saw the boy Sunday. She said his death is sad, but “you have to rejoice and laugh.”
The child’s mother has been notified, Craig said, but police aren’t sure why the youth was home early Monday afternoon rather than at school.
In Monday’s shooting, neighbor Rolanda Williams said the family was new to the neighborhood and was known for always having kids outside playing.
The neighborhood is “not what it used to be,” she said. “Why wasn’t he in school?”
Asked if the area is safe, Williams said: “Safe? We live in Detroit.”
Neighbor Theo Alderman, who lives one street over from the shooting, said he’s lived in the neighborhood for 60 years and has seen a decline in the past decade.
“There weren’t any vacant houses” when he moved in, but there are several nearby and blight has moved into the area since the recession earlier this decade.
A police evidence technician van was on the scene by 1:50 p.m. Monday about an hour after police were called.
Craig urged gun owners to be mindful of gun safety as the holidays approach.
“This should never happen,” he said.
Detroit News Staff Writer Francis X. Donnelly contributed.