Mother of 8-year-old killed in shooting from unsecured gun, charged

The mother of an 8-year-old girl killed in a fatal shooting involving an unsecured gun, was charged and arraigned on Thursday.

Erica Sade Graham, 31, has been charged in the death, where a 10-year-old found the unsecured handgun in the home and fired it, wounding Ajanae Graham on Sept. 13 in the 8840 block of Heyden Street. She was taken to a nearby fire house and died upon arrival at the hospital. The 10-year-old is the son of Erica Graham, and Ajanae's brother.

Graham has been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree child abuse, and three counts of felony firearm.

"How many children have to die because of an unsecured weapon? Why is it so hard to secure a gun when you know that children either live or visit your home frequently? Why are the deaths of these children acceptable because surely if preventing these deaths was a priority, the political will to fix this would be at an all-time high," said Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Ajanae Graham

 Ajanae Graham 

She was arraigned Thursday afternoon in 36th District Court and given a $150,000 personal bond.

If released, the defendant will have a GPS tether with home confinement. The Probable Cause Conference is scheduled for September 30, 2022, at 8:30 a.m., and the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for October 7, 2022.

"We've got to get tired of this. There's no words I can say - you've heard me say all of the words that I can say about this. It's tragic. I've got an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old in a house with an unsecured weapon. I've got kids that should be in school so it shouldn't have happened," said DPD Chief James White on Tuesday.

The chief said police would be looking at questions over child endangerment during the investigation.

White added that the 10-year-old was being administered medical attention after officers noted the conditions inside the home were "quite concerning" but nothing too severe.

Detroit police have responded to a number of shootings involving youths in 2022.

Last month, police began investigating a separate child shooting when a 3-year-old got ahold of an assault-type rifle gun. It's one of many incidents that police have been called to this year. A 2-year-old was hurt in the same week in a drive-by shooting while a 13-year-old was fatally shot over a dispute over a cell phone in July.