An avowed former gang member in Chicago has been charged with felony child endangerment after his 6-year-old son shot and killed his 3-year-old brother with a gun that was kept loaded on top of a refrigerator, authorities say. Michael Santiago, 25, was at work when the shooting occurred on Saturday night at his home in the Humboldt Park neighborhood; the childrens’ grandfather was at the home at the time. From the Chicago Tribune:
“The gun was purchased off the street. It was kept loaded, and it was wrapped in pajama pants on top of the refrigerator,” Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph DiBella said. “The defendant previously showed the 6-year-old where the gun was kept, and 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.”
“About a week prior to the shooting, he showed his older son where he kept the gun. … (Santiago) 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,” DiBella said.
At least 18 other individuals were shot this weekend in Chicago, three (including Santiago’s son) fatally. The Tribune reported that as of Sept. 28 at least 2,300 people had been shot in the city in 2015.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 51 individuals younger than 5 were killed via firearm homicide in 2013 while 30 were killed by accidental discharges. (Data for 2014 is not yet available.)