DETROIT, MICHIGAN — An 11-year-old Detroit boy has been charged by Wayne County prosecutors with manslaughter, specifically “death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice, and using a firearm during a felony.”
The unidentified 11-year-old reportedly went to visit his father’s home on Detroit’s east side on Monday and discovered a gun in a bedroom closet. The child then reportedly began playing with a younger boy in the home, identified on a Go Fund Me page as three-year-old Elijah Walker.
Authorities say the older child tossed the weapon out of a bedroom window before both kids went out to the yard to play. After retrieving the gun, the older child entered a parked vehicle in front of the home, quite likely as part of whatever game the pair were engaged in.
When the younger child entered the vehicle, the older boy fired the weapon and the three-year-old was struck in the face. Three-year-old Elijah Walker was pronounced dead upon arrival at St. John Hospital.
On August 5 police said they had yet to determine whether the two children were related and it’s unclear if the older child knew the gun was loaded, but authorities are calling it an accidental shooting.
Nonetheless, following her announcement that the 11-year-old would be charged with manslaughter, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement , “I cannot remember a time where we have charged someone so young with taking a life. Very unfortunately and very tragically, the alleged facts in this case demanded it. The charged respondent here will remain in the juvenile system, but the case remains under investigation.”
Kwanna Luchie, whom the Detroit Free Press identified as the 11-year-old’s mother, was pictured leaving the Juvenile Detention center in downtown Detroit on Wednesday following her son’s court appearance. The Detroit Free Press reports the suspect’s attorney, Anthony Walker, told the court that the boy is a seventh grader who is not at present actively attending classes and therefore may not be competent enough to stand trial.
The same newspaper also noted legal experts are questioning the decision to charge an 11-year-old with such serious offenses. The paper quoted David Cripps, a longtime Detroit attorney as saying, “He [the suspect] has no comprehension of the consequences of playing around with a loaded firearm … To me, this is pushing the edge of the envelope.”
No charges have yet been announced or filed against any adults who reside in the home where the shooting took place.