The father of a 3-year-old boy who accidentally shot his mother to death in a Chicago suburb over the weekend is facing a misdemeanor gun charge, the community’s police chief said Monday.
The shooting happened at around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday when the son of 23-year-old Romell Watson and 22-year-old Daejah Bennett found a gun while the family were sitting inside their car in a parking lot, in south suburban Dolton.
Police said the father was in the driver’s seat, the mother in the passenger seat and the boy in a car seat in the back after they had been shopping at a Food 4 Less, in the community about 20 miles south of Chicago –
‘He somehow got ahold of the gun and began playing with it in a playful manner, pointed the gun and fired the shot,’ Collins said.
A bullet struck Bennett in the neck, the chief said. She was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Dolton Police Chief Robert Collins Jr. said Watson, who was detained after the shooting, will be charged with unlawful use of a weapon. He’ll be processed on the charge and was set to be released Monday evening, Collins said.
Collins said earlier that investigators were working with Cook County prosecutors to determine the exact charges against Watson but that there was no indication that he fired the weapon or even knew the boy was holding the weapon at the time of Saturday’s shooting.
‘We do not have anything to indicate that the dad fired the weapon so the avenue we are pursuing is that the gun was his responsibility,’ Collins said.
Collins said investigators have already determined that while the father legally owned the weapon, he did not have a concealed carry permit he would have needed to carry it in the vehicle.
‘He was legally entitled to own the gun, however, he transported the weapon in a vehicle in a manner not prescribed by law,’ Collins said.
Collins said detectives conducted what is called a forensic interview with the child.
A person who specializes in talking to children interviewed the boy and during that interview, ‘The child said he was the one who fired the gun,’ he said. ‘We are confident he fired the gun.’
‘This is just such a tragedy,’ he said.