Three people have been charged in connection to the death of a 2-year-old whowas accidentally shot in Lansing, Michigan earlier this year.
The U.S. Attorney’s Western District of Michigan office said Avis Coward exited their car while at a gas station on Oct. 24, leaving a toddler and his mother inside the vehicle. Shortly after, a bullet hole became visible in one of the vehicle’s windows as seen in security camera footage used in the investigation.
Scripps News West Michigan reported that the mother, 26-year-old Emma Huver, left the vehicle with the 2-year-old. Blood was allegedly visible on the child’s face. A gun fell outside of the vehicle as she exited the car. Coward is then said to have handed the child to someone else, who tried to stop the bleeding inside the gas station until first responders showed up.
Coward then picked up the gun and placed it back inside the vehicle before shattering the window that had the bullet hole, according to the Department of Justice.
Coward drove away before the child died, Scripps News West Michigan reported.
Federal attorneys said the car was later found scorched and abandoned in a field. A semiautomatic pistol was reportedly found inside a Lansing home, with the barrel hidden behind a wall.
Coward was later charged with felony possession of a firearm, evidence tampering and conspiracy to tamper with evidence, the DOJ said.
Huver was charged with felony possession of a firearm. 26-year-old Gina Schieberl was charged with evidence tampering and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
"For the first time ever, gun violence is the leading cause of death for kids in America," said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. "Nothing more horribly illustrates this crisis than the death of an innocent two-year-old child. The cure demands an all-hands approach."
Totten said law enforcement have to play a significant role in "ensuring accountability" for people who put children in danger.
This story was originally published by Scripps News West Michigan.
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