Police: Parent says he accidentally shot, killed 4-year-old

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The parent of a 4-year-old girl who was killed in a Philadelphia neighborhood has confessed to accidentally shooting her, police said.

Authorities were unsure whether the man, later identified as Maurice Phillips, is her father or stepfather, but said he told police it was him Saturday night.

The child was originally believed to have been fatally shot by her young brother.

Investigators said the girl was shot in the face by Phillips in a home in the Kensington neighborhood shortly before 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Emergency medical personnel pronounced her dead at the scene.

Police previously said the girl was shot by her 5-year-old sibling and were searching for the child’s father or stepfather, who was believed to have owned the gun used. But Phillips turned himself in Saturday night and ultimately said he, not the other child, had been responsible, Sgt. Eric Gripp said Sunday.

“After investigation, (he) admitted to accidentally shooting the victim, and stated that the sibling had nothing to do with it,” Gripp said.

Phillips is charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. It was not immediately known whether he has an attorney who could comment on the charges.

Neighbor Louise Sawyer said the girl’s mother had been quite protective, rarely letting her children out to play for fear of violence in a neighborhood in which shootings and drugs were a constant concern.

She would say, “No, I’m not bringing these kids out with this trouble,” Sawyer told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Crystal Dougherty, who said she was a friend of the family, said the little girl who died was sweet and loved Barbie dolls and coloring.

“She was just an outgoing little girl,” she said.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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