Police in Indiana investigating a man wanted for armed robbery and other charges found something they were not expecting. Apparently, while probing the man’s cellphone after his arrest, officers discovered videos of a 1-year-old girl playing with a gun — as the man egged the child on, according to a Fox News report.
Evansville police arrested Michael Barnes Thursday after an undercover sting operation. The Indiana man, who had an active arrest warrant for an alleged armed robbery, made an agreement to sell a firearm to another man. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the buyer was an undercover cop.
Uniformed officers moved in on the subject, who tried to flee on foot. After a brief chase and struggle, Barnes was arrested at the scene near an elementary school. He was booked on a number of felonies, including Resisting Law Enforcement with a Weapon, Carrying a Handgun without a Permit, and Carrying a Handgun without a Permit within 500 Feet of a School, as Nixle wrote in an alert.
Friday, during a follow up investigation of the man’s mobile phone, two videos surfaced that showed a baby girl playing with a gun. Police believe it was the same handgun the man tried to pawn off on the officer earlier.
One video showed the 12-month-old baby playing with a gun, and a man’s voice can be heard in the background encouraging the baby to say “pow!” In more video footage, the baby allegedly (video pixelated) puts the muzzle of the weapon into her mouth.
Toni Wilson, 22, is the girl’s mom. Police say she was on the scene the previous day when Barnes was arrested. At the time, she denied knowing the man was in possession of a firearm. Accordingly, she was released without charges.The next day when investigators confronted her with the compelling video of the baby playing with the gun, she claimed it was a pellet gun. Police say it was a.40 caliber handgun.
Wilson was taken into custody and booked on a number of charges: Child Neglect, Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon, and Allowing a Child to Possess a Firearm. Barnes faces additional charges, according to prosecutors.
Evansville authorities learned that Wilson is also the mother of 1-month-old twins, of which Barnes is the father. However, he is not the biological father for the 1-year-old baby girl seen in the video playing with a gun.
The children were placed in emergency protective custody while the couple deals with the criminal cases. Share your thoughts below about the video.
[Image via: NBC News, Nixle]