Milwaukee boy shot, killed near 9th & Madison; dad charged

Giovanni Smith, 26, of Milwaukee is charged in connection with a boy's death on the city's south side Sunday, Aug. 1.

Prosecutors say Smith had left his two children unsupervised in another room when one of them picked up a gun and shot the other.

Police were called to a residence near 9th and Madison just before 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. There, Milwaukee Fire Department members were attempting life-saving measures on a 2-year-old boy who had been shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shooting near 9th and Madison

According to a criminal complaint, the boy's mother had gone to work earlier that day and left the 2-year-old and the other child, age 4, in Smith's care. Around 1 p.m., the mother had FaceTimed Smith and noted he seemed tired, but both children appeared awake and fine. About a half-hour later, the complaint states the mother received a text from Smith who later called and said the 4-year-old shot the toddler. The child was dead before the mother got back to the home.

The complaint states the mother did not know Smith had a gun at the residence. 

Police spoke to Smith's mother, who said she had given Smith the weapon a few weeks earlier. She said she kept it for protection, but asked him to take it because she was taking in a foster child. According to the complaint, Smith called his mother after the shooting; she arrived at the house and found the boy with a "large gunshot wound" and bleeding. She applied pressure to the boy's wound until the fire department arrived.

Police scene near 9th and Madison

Smith told police in an interview that the children were watching television in another room, and he had closed the door while he was on the phone. Shortly thereafter, the complaint states Smith said he heard a "pop" and he rushed in to find the 4-year-old holding the gun and crying. Smith said he kept the loaded weapon under a mattress.

Police also spoke to the 4-year-old, who said he had picked up the gun from a speaker and shot his brother. After the 2-year-old was shot, the complaint states, the 4-year-old said Smith "put the gun up" in the kitchen. He also said he had seen the gun before and that Smith keeps it out on a speaker in the bedroom.

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The complaint states Smith called his own mother before calling 911 the day of the shooting. Smith also said the speaker is next to the bed and he could have left it on top.

Smith is charged with one count of neglecting a child, consequence death. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16.

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