DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit judge ordered a mental competency exam Monday for an 11-year-old boy charged in the fatal shooting of a 3-year-old boy and urged the public to lock up their guns, saying they’re a “magnet” for curious children.
“This has happened before,” Judge Frank Szymanski said. “I pray it won’t happen again.”
The boy is charged in Juvenile Court with manslaughter without malice, as well as using a firearm during a felony.
Police said the older boy took a handgun from a closet at his father’s home last week and tossed it out of a window. Police said he subsequently retrieved the gun and fired it, striking Elijah Walker in the face.
The Associated Press doesn’t typically name minors charged with crimes. The boy in the case was mostly silent during the brief procedural hearing.
With TV cameras in the courtroom, Szymanski said it was appropriate to remind the public to keep guns out of the reach of children.
“Kids find things. It’s their nature,” he said. “A gun can be a magnet to kids. If you have ever left a gun unsecured anywhere in your lifetime … you can say a prayer of thanks that you’re not involved in the nightmare that is this case.”
Outside court, the older boy’s mother cried as she told reporters the family was sorry for what happened.
“It was an accident,” she said.
The boy, who is free on bond, will return to court on Sept. 9.
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