A three-year-old boy has died after being accidentally shot by his six-year-old brother during a game of cops and robbers.The two children were playing at their father’s home in Chicago when the older child grabbed the loaded handgun from the top of a fridge, and shot the toddler in the face.
Eian Santiago was immediately taken to hospital after the accident on Saturday evening, but died later that night.
His father, Michael Santiago, has been arrested for child endangerment – and told police he had bought the weapon for protection as he was a former gang member who had “snitched” on someone during a murder trial.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the gun was “wrapped in pyjama pants on top of the refrigerator” and the 25-year-old had shown his eldest son where it was being kept.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said: “It’s real simple: if that gun is not in the house that kid is alive today. We see this happen over and over again.”
Chicago has more murders than any other city in the US.
As of the beginning of October, there had been 370 deaths since the start of the year – compared to 306 over the same period in 2014.
Mr McCarthy has faced growing calls to resign over the violence in the city, but he insists such shootings will not end until gun laws change.
The officer claims sentences for gun possession are not harsh enough, meaning dangerous criminals can be back on Chicago’s streets within a matter of weeks.