5-year-old who fatally shot self, found gun under grandma's pillow

A family on Detroit's west side is in mourning Wednesday after another young life is cut short.

- A little girl is dead after getting her hands on her grandmother's gun. Police say she found the weapon under a pillow and pulled the trigger, shooting herself.

She's the second Detroit child to suffer a self-inflicted gunshot wound in two weeks.

Detroit police say 5-year-old Mariah Davis was staying with her grandparents on Oakfield Street with her younger siblings took a loaded gun from under her grandmother's pillow.

Her grandpa was in the other room and grandma downstairs cooking early Wednesday morning.

"The gun was not in a gun box, it was not locked, it was just lying up under the pillow," said Cmdr. Jacqueline Pritchett, Detroit police.

Police say little Mariah brought the revolver into another room with her 1-year-old brother and 3-year-old sister and began playing with it. She accidentally shot herself in the neck and died instantly.

"I can't imagine the pain that the mother and grandmother are feeling right now," Pritchett said. "Just unbearable."

This little girl lost her life and is now one of many children killed in the city recently. Two little girls shot and killed, one just 6 months old and just last weekend, a 9-year-old, taken to the hospital after finding a gun and shooting himself in the hand.

"I have no problem with the right to bear arms, however if you have a gun in your home and there are kids there, the gun should be locked," Pritchett said.

Out of sight and out of reach, psychiatrist Gerald Sheiner echoed that statement Wednesday.

"These kinds of tragedies are irreversible," Sheiner said.

Understanding in dangerous areas that many feel they need guns, Sheiner said that children don't understand the consequences after pulling the trigger.

"Stifle their curiosity make sure the weapon is secured," Sheiner said. "Don't leave your children unattended."

Pritchett says officers in her precinct are educating children on the dangers of guns in schools and stresses to gun owners that gun locks are available and free at any Detroit precinct.

"An extra step taken last night could have prevented this little baby from being shot and killed," Pritchett said

Mariah's grandmother was questioned and released pending possible charges. Now another family and community left ripped apart.

"The adult is held responsible so that's a double tragedy," Sheiner said.  "A child is hurt and the gun owner is held responsible and punished after they have lost a child."

Detroit police say charges are expected within the next couple of days. Those charges could be anything from child neglect, involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide.


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