Boy, 4, Fatally Shoots Self; Dad Charged With Manslaughter

The boy was home with his father and another child when he took a gun from a closet and shot himself, Philadelphia police say

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What to Know

  • A 4-year-old boy shot and killed himself inside his North Philadelphia home early Thursday.
  • The boy's father, Edward Williams, initially told investigators the deadly shooting occurred during a home invasion and robbery, police said.
  • Later, Williams admitted to fabricating the story, telling police that the boy had actually shot himself while the man slept.

A father who police say fabricated a story of a robbery and home invasion after his 4-year-old son accidentally shot himself in the head in their North Philadelphia home faces involuntary manslaughter charges.

Edward Williams Sr. was arraigned Friday morning on charges that also included reckless endangerment, child endangerment, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and drug counts, according to online court records.

Williams was being held on $2 million bail.

Officers answered a 911 call at the home on the 2100 block of North Lambert Street just before 1 a.m. Thursday. When they arrived, Williams, holding a younger child, met them outside and said the 4-year-old was shot upstairs.

Officers took the boy, affectionately known by neighbors as "Bubba," from the home and rushed him to the hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead, police said.

Early in the investigation Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter said said officers were interviewing the father in a bid to get “a clearer picture" on what happened. There were no signs of forced entry to the home and no signs of a struggle.

A father is accused of making up a story about a home invasion after his 4-year-old son accidentally shot and killed himself. NBC10's Matt DeLucia has the latest on the investigation.

Then, Thursday afternoon, police spokesman Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said Williams made up the story of a home invasion.

The 28-year-old dad was home with the two boys and apparently sleeping when the shooting occurred, and it's believed "Bubba" found the gun in a bedroom closet, investigators said.

The gun doesn't appear to be stolen, but also isn’t registered to the father, Kinebrew said.

Police homicide Capt. Jason Smith said Williams shouldn't have had the gun due to a criminal history, including prior arrests.

"This is, you know, an extremely tragic accident, really is, but certainly one that could’ve been prevented," Smith said.

Kinebrew said investigators don’t know why Williams, who eventually cooperated with investigators, lied.

Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on Williams' behalf.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence. Further information can be found here.

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