Toddler in Detroit home shoots and kills 5-year-old

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

An 18-month-old child shot and killed a 5-year-old boy while playing with a gun inside a Detroit home Wednesday, police said.

"It's a sad day in the city today," 10th Precinct Detroit Police Department Commander Tiffany Stewart said during a news conference Wednesday detailing the horrific shooting. "We lost another child in the city of Detroit due to a lack of firearm safety. This was completely avoidable."

Detroit Police Commander Tiffany Stewart discusses a shooting that killed a 5-year-old boy in the 2400 block of Sturtevant Street in Detroit on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

The 18-month-old, a boy, and the victim were cousins, police said. Police arrested the 5-year-old's 27-year-old father, who is also the uncle of the 18-month-old, in connection with the incident, Stewart said. Police are investigating whether the gun was "laying around" in the home, she said.

The father was home at the time of the shooting, along with the boys' grandmother and a 1-year-old girl, according to police.

Police received a call of a child shot by another child around 9:30 a.m. at a home in the 2400 block of Sturtevant Street on Detroit's west side. When police arrived at the home they found the 5-year-old shot once in the neck. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died. Police recovered the gun, a Glock, Stewart said.

"It was reported that an 18-month-old got a hold  of a gun in the home that was accessible ... grabbed it ... started playing with and accidentally shot the 5-year-old," Stewart said. "We detained the father for additional questioning regards to the circumstances ... to make a determination as to whether or not this is what occurred."

"I'm not sure the 18-month-old is not even aware of what occurred," said Stewart. "This is why we emphasize gun safety with gun locks and gun boxes so we don't have circumstances like this. It has been far too many of these kinds of circumstances in the city of Detroit."

The identities of the children were not released Wednesday.

The circumstances surrounding the incident remain under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Detroit Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 313-596-2260.