Ervin Talley, 16, was visiting his friend Tresean Parker, 17, on the morning of Feb. 15. The two laughed and joked as usual in the apartment in Northeast Baltimore’s Frankford neighborhood.
Then they decided to play with Parker’s father’s unsecured handgun, according to Baltimore police charging documents.
Soon after, Talley was dead.
This week, Parker was charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm, according to Maryland Court records.
The gun was owned by McGregory Parker, Tresean’s father, according to charging documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. As the two teens played with the gun, Parker pointed it at Talley’s head, charging documents alleged.
Talley hit Parker’s hand, trying to move the gun away, and the weapon discharged, according to the documents. The bullet struck Talley, an 11th-grader at City Neighbors High School, in his head.
Before police had arrived to the scene, Tresean Parker unloaded the firearm, cleared the chamber and tried to flush the remaining live rounds down the toilet, charging documents said.
The gun was placed under the couch as Talley bled, according to the documents.
At approximately 9:24 a.m., Baltimore police responded to the apartment, in the 4400 block of Moravia Ave. Talley was located, suffering from the gunshot, and Parker remained at the scene, notifying officers that his friend had been shot in the head, the documents stated.
Talley was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
McGregory Parker had kept the gun in his bedroom dresser, charging documents said. Tresean Parker had taken pictures and recorded multiple videos posing with the handgun at different dates and times, according to charging documents.
Tresean Parker initially told police that Talley had shot himself until he was presented with more information by officers while being interviewed in the company of his father at the police’s homicide unit, according to charging documents.
No attorney was listed for Parker in the state’s online court records. The Office of the Public Defender did not respond to a request for comment.
The Baltimore Sun was not able to reach McGregory Parker for comment.
Talley often kept to himself and stayed out of trouble, family members recalled. James Price said his younger cousin was the “type of little guy” who was often quiet but also funny. He enjoyed playing video games and shooting hoops with friends. Talley was often laughing and making jokes with his friends, mother and sisters, but at family functions, he would sit by himself.
“He was a good young man,” Price said. “He was funny and always making his family laugh.”
Talley’s mother, Robin Phillips, had seen him Feb. 12 — then not again until he was dead.
“Kids should stay away from guns, and it is just not the way. Guns are dangerous,” Phillips said. “I just want all of this killing to be stopped.”
Now Talley has become one of four children in Baltimore city who have lost their lives due to firearms this year.
Last year, 16 children were homicide victims, according to The Sun’s homicide database.
“If you have a weapon, it should be secured with a lock or a cabinet,” Price said. “Why was it out where they could get them and where something bad could happen?”
Under Maryland State law, a person cannot leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person either knew or should have known that an unsupervised child younger than age 16 would be able to access the firearm.
There have been efforts to expand the state law and change the age supervision requirement to all youth under 18, pushed as Jaelynn’s Law through the Maryland General Assembly during this year’s legislative sessions, which came about after a girl named Jaelynn Wiley was fatally shot in the head by a boy who had his father’s Glock 9 mm pistol in 2018.
Del. Dana Stein, a Baltimore County Democrat, said Talley’s death was “exactly the type of situation” that would be addressed by the bill, which he sponsored.
Both the state Senate and the House have conducted hearings on the legislation.
“It’s still a tragedy. Someone is gone … using a gun that should have been secure and where the parent should have made sure the minor wouldn’t gain access to the gun,” Stein told The Sun.
He hopes the bill would create “stricter responsibilities for parents or guardians who have children in the room … to make sure a minor would not have access to the gun.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Phil Davis contributed to this article.