A 6-year-old boy shot his 3-year-old brother, Eian, in the face over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reports, nothing the shooting took place during a game of cops and robbers. The gun belonged to the boy's father — who had shown his son where he kept it — and now, the boy's father is being charged for the murder. Michael Santiago, 25, is a former member of a Chicago gang called the Spanish Cobras and reportedly bought the gun from a gang member. He felt he needed a weapon to protect his family in the rough Chicago neighborhood where they live. "MY HUSBAND IS A GREAT HUSBAND N FATHER WE LIVE IN A TERRIBLE NEIGHBORHOOD ANY GREAT MAN N FATHER WOULD WNT TO PROTECT HIS FAM. WE CNT EVEN GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT SOME SHOOTN IT WAS AN ACCIDENT," the vitcim's mother, Angie Lasalle, wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Santiago reportedly left the gun in a pair of pajama pants on top of his refrigerator. While Santiago was at work, his wife was running errands, and 3-year-old Eian was eating macaroni and cheese, the 6-year-old climbed up, took hold of the gun, and shot his brother. Shootings by children are a shockingly common problem in the United States. Last week, a study from the Washington Post's Wonkblog found that a toddler shoots someone every week. The victims in these cases ranged from a toddler killing himself or herself, an adult, or another child. In Tennessee earlier this month, an 11-year-old boy shot and killed his 8-year-old neighbor. The boy is being charged for the crime. Some people said he did it because his neighbor — a little girl named MaKayla Dryer — wouldn't let him play with her puppies. The CDC found that in 2013 alone, 896 children age 14 or younger died in the U.S. from "assault (homicide) by way of firearm discharge." That is nearly 75 children a month.
Nearly 75 children a month are killed by guns.
In the case of this weekend's shooting, the 6-year-old is not being tried for killing his brother. The boys' father is standing trial, held on $75,000 bail. Originally, the prosecution asked for $1 million. "To say we are saddened by a loss of a child is an understatement. A child is not supposed to die under any circumstance. Confused why God chose such a young innocent kid is all thats going through my head," a family friend named George Rayyan wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for Eian's funeral. Chicago has among the worst gun violence problems in the nation. As of October 19 this year, 2,439 people have been shot, the Chicago Tribune reports. In all of 2014, 2,587 were shot in the city. Those terrifying levels of violence are allegedly what led Michael Santiago to buy a gun in a first place, the gun that has since taken the life of his youngest son.