Grandmother charged in "accidental shooting" that left child in grave condition

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned the grandmother of a four-year-old who was seriously injured after he was shot in an "accidental shooting" incident near N. 45th and Locust on March 19th has been charged in the case.

48-year-old Renee Smith of Milwaukee has been charged with one count of leaving/storing a loaded firearm near a child -- a misdemeanor.

Police have said the four-year-old shot himself in this case.

Officers were dispatched to the 2900 block of N. 45th Street just after 5:00 p.m. on March 19th -- where they observed numerous people on the front porch screaming for the paramedics.

Officers entered the home, and discovered the four-year-old boy lying on a bed. A citizen witness was holding the boy and calling for help.

The criminal complaint indicates the boy had a bullet hole in his forehead. He was breathing and his eyes were slightly open, but an officer could not find a pulse and started chest compressions on the boy until the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived on scene and took over.

The boy was transported to Children's Hospital by ambulance.

The complaint says an officer discovered a black revolver on the bed.

The complaint says officers interviewed Smith, who told officers prior to the shooting, she was in the back bedroom, sitting in a chair watching television. Smith told officials four children were in the room. One of them was asleep on the bed, and the others were playing with matchbox cars on the bedroom floor.

The complaint says Smith told officials she observed all three children pop up immediately, and then go back down to the floor where they had been playing. That's when Smith says she heard a "loud bang," followed by two of the children popping up a second time.

Smith identified the shooting victim as her grandson, for whom she was responsible for providing care at the time of the shooting.

The complaint says Smith admitted to holding onto the firearm involved in the shooting for another individual. She said she kept the firearm in a shoebox underneath the bed.

The complaint indicates officials spoke with a man named Jake Smith, who lives at the residence where the shooting occurred. He said he was preparing dinner when the shooting occurred.

The complaint says Jake Smith initially told officials he had no knowledge there was a gun inside the residence, but later admitted to seeing the revolver in the residence about a month ago.

The complaint says Jake Smith told officials he spoke with Renee Smith about the gun. He says she told him she was keeping the firearm for protection -- as she had been the victim of a home invasion months ago.

However, the complaint says Renee Smith told officials she was holding onto the gun for another individual -- and had had the gun for about three weeks. Smith told officials she didn't know whether the children knew of the gun underneath the bed, according to the complaint.

The complaint says officials spoke with a man who told them he had sold the firearm to Renee Smith six to eight months ago for $300. That man told officials Smith wanted the gun for protection. The man said when he sold the gun, there were five bullets inside, according to the complaint.

If convicted in this case, Renee Smith could face a maximum of nine months in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

As of March 20th, the four-year-old boy remained in grave condition at Children's Hospital. We are told he is doing better.

FOX6 News stopped by Smith's home on Tuesday, April 1st. A woman claiming to be Smith said she was unaware of any charges filed against her.

"The grandmother is just overwhelmed right now," community activist Tracey Dent said.

Dent says Smith is focusing on her grandson's health.

"It's just something you never thought would happen, did happen.  That's why it's important we learn from this. It could have been prevented. Like I said, accidents happen," Dent said.