A Chicago man has been charged with child endangerment after his three-year-old son was shot and killed by his six-year-old brother while the two were playing “cops and robbers,” police said on Sunday.
The six-year-old found the loaded revolver on top of the refrigerator and shot little brother Eian Santiago in the head on Saturday evening, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The older brother’s name was not disclosed.
The boys’ father, Michael Santiago, 25, was arrested and charged with child endangerment, a felony, police said. He appeared in court on Sunday and is being held on a $75,000 bond, according to DNAinfo.com Chicago, a local news web site.
“He was a beautiful kid. It’s real crazy,” the grandfather, Israel LaSalle, said in a tearful interview on CLTV, a local television station. “That’s why parents should never have guns in the house.”
The shooting happened at about 9:05 p.m. CDT (1405 GMT) on the city’s northwest side. The three-year-old was carried by a family member a block away to Norwegian American Hospital, and then transported to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly before midnight, officials said.
Michael Santiago told police he was a former member of the Spanish Cobras street gang and had purchased the gun from a gang member for protection, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
At the bond hearing, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph DiBella said the shooting happened when the children were in the care of their grandfather while Santiago was at work and his wife was at the store with a younger child, age one, according to DNAinfo.com.
Santiago had shown the six-year-old the gun a week before, telling him it was only for adults, DiBella said, according to the web site. The gun had been wrapped in pajama pants.