Three adults have been arrested in the accidental shooting of a 3-year-old boy in Southwest Baltimore.
Baltimore police detectives arrested and charged Kia Vashawn Richard, Andre Maurice Hill and Cantria O'Neal Reddick with reckless endangerment, possession of an unregistered shotgun, leaving firearms accessible to minors and other charges.
On Monday night, a 3-year-old boy was wounded by shotgun blasts to his lower leg. Baltimore police said the gun was fired by another toddler in an Uplands neighborhood home. Police said the children were in a bedroom when they gained access to the shotgun.
Shot in the knee and foot, the injured boy was treated at an area hospital and released, police said.
According to charging documents, police arrived at a house in the 4400 block of Pen Lucy Road and found blood in the second-floor bedroom where the children had been.
Police recovered several guns from the house: a .380-caliber Jimenez Arms handgun and magazine; a Remington 870 shotgun that had been sawed off and four shotgun shells; a 9 mm Intratec machine pistol and magazine; and more than 200 additional rounds.
One of the handguns was recovered from a safe and another came from an upstairs bedroom, police said. Detectives said they found the pistol and the shotgun in plain view in a black trash can in the backyard.
Detectives interviewed witnesses and determined the injured boy and his 2-year-old cousin were playing outside an open closet door in a bedroom while Richard, 25, was sitting on the bed with her boyfriend, Hill.
The cousin found the shotgun leaning against the wall in the back of the closet and dragged it out, police said. Through ballistics tests, crime scene signs and firearm evidence, police said they were able to determine that none of the adults shot the boy and that the injured boy did not shoot himself. They determined the 2-year-old cousin shot the other boy based on the projected angle of the shooting.
At first, Richard told police that she had been walking near an alley with her son, who was the wounded boy, when she heard a pop and saw that he had been injured.
But Reddick, 27, told police the guns belonged to a friend she named only as "J.R.," and that she had asked Hill, 24, to move the shotgun into Richard's closet, according to charging documents. Hill told police he did so, police said. Richard and Reddick are sisters.
Police also charged Richard with providing false statements.
Reddick told police that she put the shotgun and pistol in the trash can after the children were hurt to conceal them because she was scared and didn't want anyone to get in trouble.
Hill and Richard remain in the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Facility while police said Reddick has bonded out, police said. Jerry Tarud, an attorney for Reddick, said he believes police overreached by charging his client after she fully cooperated with investigators.
"Unfortunately, it's a sad state for all parties," he said. "No winners, all losers in this case. Here we have a family involving two children. … Now they're physically scarred and emotionally scarred along with being accused, as well. It's a sad state of affairs.
"I don't think my girl should have been charged," he added. "I can't speak to the other people. She cooperates fully, but keep in mind the loaded guns don't come out of her room but I believe her sister['s]. … This should have been prevented, but I think they're overreaching by charging her."
No attorneys were listed in online court records for Richard or Hill.
Jennifer Stapleton, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said such incidents happen "too often" and that parents and guardians need to keep unloaded guns and ammunition in separate, locked places if they choose to keep weapons in homes.
"When one child shoots another, it was because an adult was negligent, and that adult needs to be held accountable," she said. "With rights comes responsibilities, and when it come to kids and guns, the onus is always on the adults to be the responsible one."