A Philadelphia father, 30-year-old Maurice Phillips, has admitted to accidentally shooting his 4-year-old daughter in the face. The father initially fled the scene of the crime and allowed the little girl’s 5-year-old brother to take the blame. However, after police were able to question the father, he admitted that he was “playing” with a gun when it accidentally went off and fatally shot the child in the face.
The Daily Mail reports that the shooting took place in the family’s Philadelphia home where the man lived with the little girl’s mother, Tera Riddick. The little girl reportedly had three sisters and two brothers also living with Riddick and Phillips in the home.
When police first reported the incident to the media, they acknowledged that the little girl’s 5-year-old brother had accidentally shot her in the face and that the father fled the scene following the horrific accident. They said, however, that they desperately needed to speak with the father about the accident.
“We desperately need to find the father, who for whatever reason, fled the scene. We are looking for him.”
Police initially didn’t understand why Phillips would flee the scene of the tragic accident, but after questioning the man it all became clear. Phillips admitted that it was he who had accidentally shot the child in the face, not the little brother. He informed police that he was “playing” with the gun at around 2:25 p.m. when it accidentally went off. The bullet fatally shot his 4-year-old daughter in the face, so he fled the scene.
— WFMZ-TV 69News (@69News) April 17, 2016
Just five minutes later, the little girl would be pronounced dead in the family’s home, with the father nowhere to be found. Police say that the 5-year-old was determined to be the culprit in the accidental death after the family members remaining in the home said that the child was playing with the gun when he accidentally shot his sister in the face. However, neither the 5-year-old little boy nor the father Maurice Phillips were at the home when police and paramedics arrived just minutes after receiving the call.
The parent of a 4-yr-old girl who was killed in Philadelphia has confessed to accidentally shooting her, police said https://t.co/O7PRbQXffX
— WTNH News 8 (@WTNH) April 17, 2016
The police recovered a semiautomatic pistol in the home that was determined to be the weapon used in the shooting. The father had posted an image of a semiautomatic pistol along with a box of bullets in February of this year on his personal Facebook page. It is not known at this time if the weapon pictured was the one used in the shooting.
Philly reports that when police were finally able to question Phillips, it was determined it was the father playing with the gun, not the child, and that it was entirely accidental. However, police say charges are still pending. Those in the neighborhood that knew the little girl say she loved Barbie dolls and was a sweet girl. The mother allegedly kept her children inside most of the time because she feared violence on the streets in her neighborhood.
The little girl’s mother has not spoken out about the accident but a memorial has been created along the street of the neighborhood where the little girl once played. Stuffed animals, candles, and notes of support were found laying in the road shortly after the shooting.
Do you think the police should investigate the shooting further despite the father’s alleged confession to the shooting? What do you think about the father fleeing the scene after the incident while his daughter died in the family’s home? What charges do you think should be filed for the accidental shooting?
[Image via Shutterstock]