Dearborn — Police said Thursday the two toddlers wounded in a shooting Wednesday are in stable condition.
Officials said a child who suffered a shoulder injury is expected to make a full recovery and the other vicitim is in serious but stable condition.
Detectives have interviewed witnesses and are working to finish their investigation, police said.
They also said investigators expect to meet with staff of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to determine whether charges will be filed in the case.
The news comes a day after
a toddler with a handgun allegedly wounded two young children in a shooting at an unlicensed daycare.
“It’s horrible. You see those kids outside all the time and it makes you wonder: how that could happen?” said Mary Ramadan, who has lived nearby for years. “How could you have all those kids in your house and have firearms sitting out loaded that they can get a hold of?”
Questions swirl about what led to the incident that left the two children, both identified as 3 years old, hospitalized. They initially were in critical but stable condition then updated to serious late Wednesday, according to authorities.
“Obviously, there was a weapon in proximity to the kids, and that’s totally unacceptable to me, but I don’t want to comment any further on that,” Police Chief Ron Haddad said at a news conference near the house. “It’s totally tragic. It’s irresponsible.”
Haddad said police received a 911 call at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday about the shooting at a home in the 3600 block of Harding. Someone inside the home called 911.
Everyone in the house at the time of the shooting was questioned, the chief said. “We’re going to pray these two young kids are going to be OK,” he said. “However it shakes out, it’s a tragedy for our entire community.”
Officials wouldn’t say where in the home the children were injured, describe their injuries or where the guns were found in the home. Haddad declined to say what kind of weapons or how many were found.
The home where the children were shot is used to babysit multiple children, Haddad said. Police have not yet established if the home is a licensed daycare center.
The residence is not licensed as a child care home, said Pardeep Toor, a representative for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The agency did not have a record of complaints associated with the address.
Ashley Escobedo, 30, identified herself as the sister of the woman, Samantha Eubanks, 31, who owns the home and takes care of children there.
Eubanks, who turns 32 this week, “loves children,” and has six of her own, ranging from 2-15, Escobedo said. She took in other children for care, including Escobedo’s two, but is said to have charged low rates and offered services only to “friends and family but mostly family,” she said.
Eubanks did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
Several neighbors recall seeing many youngsters at the home. “They always have a lot of kids out there ... outside in the front yard,” Ramadan said.
Per state law, someone providing child care services requires a child care license or registration if operating a family child care home or group child care home, Toor said.
State law defines a family child care home as a private residence in which between one and seven minors are tended for less than 24 hours a day, “unattended by a parent or legal guardian, except children related to an adult member of the family by blood, marriage, or adoption.” It includes a home where an unrelated minor is cared for over more than four weeks but does not include an individual providing babysitting services on another’s behalf for less than $600 annually or an amount requiring a parent or guardian to file a Form 1099-MISC with the IRS.
A group child care home is defined as a private residence where between six and 12 minors are tended for less than 24 hours a day unattended by a parent or legal guardian, except children related to an adult relative. It includes a home where an unrelated minor is cared for over more than four weeks.
Failing to be registered or licensed is a violation and considered a misdemeanor.
Escobedo, who came to the home after she heard the news, said she hasn’t talked with her sister. Escobedo said she was “shocked” to hear what had happened. She said she has never known guns to be at the house.
“My sister totally hates guns,” Escobedo said. “This would be her worst nightmare.”
The other children in the home were taken to the Dearborn Police Department to be picked up by their parents, police said.
For now, family and neighbors are grappling with the unsettling incident. “I have kids myself and they’re outside playing. I feel like it could’ve been so much worse,” Ramadan said.