DETROIT (WWJ) – A day off from school turned deadly for one Detroit family when a 13-year-old was accidentally shot by another teenager. Now, the grandmother who owned the gun, and the 13-year-old who fired it, could face charges.
Investigators are still piecing together what happened inside a west side Detroit home where a teenager was shot to death Monday.
According to police, three boys — ages 13, 14 and 15– who live at their grandmother’s house on Tireman stayed home because school was cancelled due to snow. After their grandmother went to work, leaving the boys unsupervised, the 13-year-old allegedly broke into his grandmother’s locked bedroom and found her handgun, which was not loaded, police said Tuesday.
“The firearm was hidden and unloaded in a locked bedroom,” Detroit Police Officer Jennifer Moreno told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell. “The 13-year-old sought out the firearm. … The grandmother didn’t properly secure it. ”
The teens then apparently decided to invite a friend over — 13-year-old Emarje “EJ” Watkins — to play some video games and “possibly scare him with the gun,” police said Monday.
It’s not clear what led to the shooting, but police say the 13-year-old boy loaded the gun and opened fire, striking Watkins in the back. The 911 call came in at 1:15 p.m; responding police officers administered CPR, but were unable to save Watkins. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounce dead on arrival.
The teens, along with their grandmother, were taken into custody following the shooting.
“Many are wondering if the grandmother will face criminal charges,” said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. “There is a duty to keep your gun locked up and secured at all times.”
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is expected to issue warrants for the grandmother and the 13-year-old who fired the weapon, according to police. The two other teens are not expected to be charged.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner determined Watkins death a homicide.
Earlier this year in a similar situation, a grandfather was convicted of second-degree child abuse after his 5-year-old granddaughter found his gun under a pillow and shot herself to death.
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Note: Police originally reported that the teens found a loaded handgun on their grandmother’s nightstand. This article has been updated with findings from a preliminary investigation, provided by police.