U.S. (Next Media) – The father of a 3-year-old boy who was accidentally shot and killed by his 6-year-old brother on Chicago’s West Side over the weekend has been charged.
Michael Santiago, 25, was charged with felony child endangerment causing death and bond was set at $75,000 during his first court appearance on Sunday. Santiago told police he had bought the gun on the street for protection.
Eian Santiago, 3, and his 6-year-old brother were playing “cops and robbers” around 9:05 p.m. on Saturday in their home on the 1000-block of North Francisco Avenue in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Their grandfather, Israel LaSalle, was watching them while Santiago was at work and his wife was out at the store.
The grandfather says he asked the boys to go downstairs to get some bleach so he could clean up after the dog when he heard a single shot.
“I heard a pop, you know, like somebody had shot, so I opened the door and I look out and he was running up the stairs and he told me somebody shot his brother,” LaSalle said.
Chicago police said the 6-year-old found the loaded gun his dad had hidden on top of the refrigerator, wrapped in pajama pants. Santiago had shown the 6-year-old where the gun was kept last week, but he told him only adults should use it, according to prosecutors.
Lasalle ran with the 3-year-old in his arms to a nearby hospital. He was then taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“Michael Santiago was arrested after and charged after he knowingly stored a loaded firearm on top of a refrigerator with access to his minor children in their home,” police said.
SOURCES: CNN, ABC 7, NBC Chicago