In Chicago on Saturday night, a 6-year-old boy fatally shot his 3-year-old brother after their father, who prosecutors said had acquired the gun for protection after testifying in a murder trial, showed the older boy where it was kept, above the refrigerator in their Humboldt Park home.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the boys had been playing “cops and robbers” when the 6-year-old grabbed the gun and fired it at his brother, Eian Santiago. Guglielmi said that the boys’ father, Michael Santiago, 25, told police that he was a former member of the Spanish Cobras gang and that the gun was purchased illegally.
“The gun was purchased off the street. It was kept loaded, and it was wrapped in pajama pants on top of the refrigerator,” prosecutor 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,” he said. “[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.”
Court records show that the gun was a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, the Tribune reports. Santiago, who is a manager at a Papa Ray’s Pizza restaurant, does not have a firearm owner’s identification card or concealed carry license. Bail was set at $75,000.
The Chicago police department has seized more than 5,500 illegal weapons so far this year. “It’s real simple,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the Associated Press. “If that gun is not in the house that kid is alive today. We see this happen over and over and over again.”
The boys’ step-grandfather, Hector Salgado, spoke to the Tribune outside the courtroom on Sunday. “He’s OK,” Salgado said of the older brother. “He doesn’t even remember. He doesn’t know nothing about it. He thinks his brother is in the hospital sick.”