The uncle of a 10-year-old girl who accidentally shot and killed herself last week in her Kingsessing home has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and related crimes for failing to secure the weapon, which he was not legally allowed to possess, authorities said.
Tyree Miles, 28, was arraigned Tuesday and was being held in the city’s jail on $500,000 bail.
Miles’ niece fatally shot herself once in the head around 9:30 p.m. July 1 while inside her home on the 5500 block of Whitby Avenue, according to court documents.
Her father, Warren Miles, said in an interview Wednesday that his daughter, Shanyiah Gaines Miles, was a beautiful girl with a promising future who wanted to start a bakery with her sister when she grew up.
He said Shanyiah’s death, and his brother’s arrest, has been devastating: “I lost a whole family. My whole family is destroyed over this.”
Still, Warren Miles said he plans to start an organization called Protect Our Children to work with young people and honor the legacy of his daughter, who he said loved to help others.
“Shanyiah, she’ll never have a chance to live her life,” he said. “But there’s children out here that can, and we as parents … we all have to play a part in it.”
On the night of the shooting, Shanyiah had been in the living room with her grandmother, who was doing her hair, when she went upstairs to her uncle’s second-floor bedroom to retrieve batteries for the TV remote control, court documents said. Within moments, her grandmother and others in the house — including another uncle and his girlfriend — heard a loud pop, then ran in to find her on the floor.
Her father, who had been working in the basement at the time, ran upstairs, saw his daughter, and also saw a gun in a dresser drawer, the documents said.
The girl’s death was the second time in a week that a child in Philadelphia died in an accidental shooting. On June 26, a 10-year-old boy fatally shot himself while he was home alone with his 8-year-old sister, police said.
That case remains under investigation, said Jane Roh, a spokesperson for District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Krasner said in a statement on Miles’ arrest that gun owners must “responsibly store or lock away” their firearms.
“Writing these tragedies off as mere ‘accidents’ ignores the responsibility of individuals and all of society for the safety and protection of our children,” he said.
Miles is being represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which did not provide immediate comment.
Miles was on probation after pleading guilty in March 2020 to aggravated assault and firearms charges, making him ineligible to carry a weapon, court records say.
His preliminary hearing in the case was scheduled for later this month.
As Warren Miles reflected on his daughter’s life, he said he wanted to remain focused on trying to make a positive impact in her name.
“I just know she wouldn’t want me to sit here and do nothing,” he said. “I’m going to take her in spirit with me, and me and her are going to help children all over the world.”