DETROIT (FOX 2) - In the first seven weeks of 2022, the city of Detroit says six children under the age of 17 have been shot after they or another child got their hands on a loaded and unsecured firearm. Detroit Police Chief James White, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, and Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington spoke to plead gun owners to be responsible with their weapons.
White said that in 2021 alone, 67 children in Detroit were shot, 9 were killed. So far, six children under 17 have been shot with an unsecured weapon. The youngest of the victims was 2, and it just happened this week.
A 5-year-old boy was murdered execution style, according to his family. Another 5-year-old boy is recovering after finding a gun under a bed in his home and shooting himself. A 3-year-old shot themselves after finding a gun from a CPL holder. An 18-month-old was nearly shot in a reported road rage incident. And a 2-year-old was shot on Sunday.
Victimized by adult decisions
White, Worthy, and Washington urged gun owners to get a gun lock (they're free at every Detroit Police precinct) and, most importantly, use them.
"You have to have the conversation with your children and to keep the guns out of reach of the children," White said. "You have to use the gun lock and not just have the gun lock."
White said that the number of children being shot is growing and many kids will never recover from their injuries and that they are victimized by adult decisions.
"Many of these kids will never recover from injuries," White said.
Gun locks are given away for free at any Detroit police precinct but White later said they'll make it even easier to keep children safe: they'll deliver the gun locks.
"If you want a gun lock, we will come out, and we will show you how to use it, no questions asked," White said.
Washington reiterated that same stance, just call the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and they'll bring them to you.
According to Worthy, in 2016 there were 27 children were killed or seriously injured in the homes of lawful gun owners. She said she's been campaigning ever since to get child safety access laws approved in Lansing but they "don't have a chance in Hates in passing in the state of Michigan."
"This is not a Second Amendment issue, this is not a gun ownership issue, this is a child safety issue," Worthy said
Guns found in cribs, dressers, and on gaming consoles
She said 22 shootings in recent years could have been "absolutely and totally prevented". According to Worthy these shootings happened in the homes, cars, or backyards of lawful gun owners where children have found guns.
"I'm not talking about in a place like a locked closet. I'm talking about in a crib. I'm talking about in the bottom dresser drawer that remained open, on the coffee table, under the bed, under the pillow," Worthy said.
She also said the most egregious was on top of a gaming console where children played.
"If you do something like that, that's totally irresponsible and criminal," she said.
Worthy reiterated that, if children aren't in the home, she "doesn't care where you leave your gun" as long as you're being responsible.
Worthy said people will be charged for unlawfully securing their firearms, even if it doesn't lead to a child being shot. She said that they're not sending people to prison but they are holding people responsible for not securing their weapons.
When were children shot in Detroit?
White ran through the six confirmed self-inflicted shootings.
January 4: A 4-year-old was shot in an accidental shooting.
January 10: A 12-year-old was shot in an accidental shooting.
January 14: A 3-year-old was shot in a self-inflicted shooting.
February 7: A 2-year-old was shot in a self-inflicted shooting.
February 17: A 5-year-old was shot in a possible self-inflicted shooting.
February 19: Another 2-year-old was shot in an accidental shooting. White said they're still investigating the shooting.
During the update, White and Detroit Police leaders announced the arrest of two teenagers in the triple homicide that included the murder of a 5-year-old boy.
The family of the boy identified him as Caleb and said he was shot execution style. His mom and her boyfriend were also found murdered inside the home on Evergreen near Fenkell.
According to Detroit Police, a family member hadn't heard from Caleb or his mother, Lashon Marshall, went to the home to check on them. The family member found Lashon and her boyfriend, Aaron Benson, shot and killed.
The question of who and why are both still unanswered.
There are two Green Light gas stations near the home and Detroit Police are hoping the find some video evidence. Anyone with information is asked to call Detroit Police.