Lawyer: Man charged in shooting death ‘a good father’

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — The father of an 11-year-old boy who allegedly killed a 3-year-old boy while playing with a gun in his backyard has been arraigned in the case.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Monday charged Curry Bryson of Detroit with manslaughter, second-degree child abuse, felony firearm, and altering identification marks of a weapon. Bryson was arraigned Monday morning.

Bond was set at $10,000, 10 percent, after a not-guilty plea was entered. A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 24 with a preliminary examination Aug. 31.

The 11-year-old, who lives with his mother, was visiting Bryson’s house on the 16000 block of Eastwood around 1:40 p.m. Aug. 3 when he allegedly shot 3-year-old Elijah Walker, according to prosecutors and a police report obtained by The News.

The boys were playing in a car parked in the backyard when the shooting occurred.

Bryson has insisted that he had the gun locked up.

“That’s why they didn’t charge me,” he told The News earlier this month. “It was locked up. My son broke into my stuff.”

The gun was locked inside a bedroom closet, Bryson said.

“It was locked in my closet and the bedroom door was locked, too,” Bryson said. “I did the right thing. Everyone thinks I’m the bad one, but my son broke into the window and broke into the closet.”

The alleged shooter, a seventh-grader at the Brewer Academy, initially was identified as Elijah’s brother, although police later said the two boys weren’t related.

Elijah was the son of Bryson’s girlfriend, Bryson’s attorney said Monday after the arraignment.

“That’s really the devastating part,” attorney Jerome Barney said. “And then his 11-year-old son that he loves — that he talks to and takes to work with him — commits this kind of act.”

Barney said he does not believe Bryson should be facing charges.

“This guy’s a good father. He takes care of his kid. There were two adults that were present (at the home when Elijah was shot),” Barney said.

“There are a lot of facts here that will come in the trial. I don’t want try this case in the media, but this is definitely overcharging in my opinion.”

Barney declined to comment on where his client’s gun was stored the day Elijah was killed.

“I don’t want to make any kind of comments like that,” he said. “But I’ve been to the scene, and I’ve checked out the scene. I have my own thoughts.”

Barney also disputed allegations made in a Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office press release that Bryson owned and stored the weapon “in a grossly negligent manner.”

“Gross negligence means wanton recklessness,” Barney said. “And I don’t see it.”

Barney said Bryson owned the gun for protection.

“He lives on the east side, in the middle of the ’hood,” Barney said. “It’s Detroit. I don’t think I need to say anymore, do I?”

The 11-year-old appeared at a pretrial hearing earlier this month before Wayne County Juvenile Court Referee Anthony Crutchfield, who set a $5,000 or 10 percent bond after ruling the boy will stand trial on charges of manslaughter, death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice and felony firearm. Because of his age, The News is not identifying the boy by name.

If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to a juvenile detention facility up to age 21.

A judge has also ordered a psychological examination for the 11-year-old boy. He is due back in juvenile court on Wednesday.