A nine-year-old boy who accidentally shot dead a 15-year-old girl while playing with a handgun in a suburb of Baltimore will not be charged over her killing, according to police.
The Baltimore Police Department said in a media release that the duo were playing with a loaded gun in West Baltimore’s Edmondson Village on Saturday evening when the girl was shot accidentally in the head. The boy dropped the weapon and fled the scene after.
The girl, who was identified as Nykayla Strawder by her mother Nykerah Strawder in an interview with The Baltimore Sun, was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.
“I want children to be more safe. To put the guns away, get rid of these guns,” the girl’s mother told the newpaper. “I lost my daughter; I’ll never be the same.”
Neighbours also told the newspaper they could hear screams immediately following the shooting and that there were “multiple children playing on the porch before the shooting.” The porch in question was part of the home where the teenager lived.
“They seemed to be friends,” said Baltimore resident Avis Welborn, adding that she recognised some of the children and that they often play together in the same spot.
The police’s statement noted that after they “gained possession of the gun and ran the serial number,” they found that “the weapon is registered to an adult female who is a relative of the 9-year-old” and “serves as an armed security guard.”
The statement continued by saying that “in accordance with State Law and due to the age of the 9-year-old, he can not be charged with a crime.”
“This is an open and ongoing investigation,” police added. “The Department is working closely with the State’s Attorney’s Office and potential charges related to this incident are pending.”
The deceased teenager’s father, Dontay Jones, told KSBY that it “doesn’t make sense for a child to have access to a firearm under any circumstances” and shared how he was devastated that his daughter “would never have another birthday.”
“She makes everybody happy. She kept a smile on your face and mine,” added Jones.