This is just terrible. A 3-year-old boy from Chicago is dead after his brother, only 6 years old, accidentally shot and killed him while they were playing. The father has been charged with child endangerment, as he is the one who allegedly showed his older son where the gun was kept.
What a horrible family tragedy. Michael Santiago, 25, purchased a pistol to protect himself against former gang members on Chicago’s North Side, and his (unnamed) son, 6, found the loaded gun. When playing “cops and robbers” with his brother Eian, 3, on Oct. 18, the gun went off suddenly. A bullet struck Eian in the face and killed him, and Michael has been arrested for felony child endangerment.
The weapon, which was a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, was bought by Michael from “one of his Cobra [gang] connections”, as The Washington Post reports. “In a videotape statement the defendant said he kept the gun for protection because he was a former gang member who snitched on a gang member in a murder trial,” said prosecutor Joseph DiBella, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The gun was purchased off the street,” Joseph said. “It was kept loaded, and it was wrapped in pajama pants on top of the refrigerator.” So sickening.
As if leaving a weapon unprotected wasn’t irresponsible enough, Michael allegedly showed his son where the gun was. “About a week prior to the shooting, he showed his older son where he kept the gun,” Joseph told the court. Michael “took the gun from on top of the refrigerator, unwrapped the pajama pants and explained to the 6-year-old that the gun was only to be used by adults.” Michael has been charged with felony endangerment of a child. The father could spend 2-10 years in prison if convicted.
Michael’s Wife Angie Defends Her Husband: He Wanted ‘To Protect’ His Family
Michael’s wife, Angie Lasalle, has defended him amidst her grief. “WE LIVE IN A TERRIBLE NEIGHBORHOOD,” she wrote on Facebook. “ANY GREAT MAN N FATHER WOULD WNT TO PROTECT HIS FAM. WE CNT EVEN GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT SOME SHOOTN IT WAS AN ACCIDENT PLEASE NO ONE WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN.” Understandably, she is beside herself: “I CNT BELIEVE HES GONE MY BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY!!!I CNT FEEL CNT EAT SLEEP OH MY SWEET BABY BOY I MISS U SOOOOO MUCH,” she posted. So heartbreaking.
HollywoodLifers, leave your thoughts for Eian in the comments below.
— Gabriella Ginsberg