The 12-year-old brother of Nyssa Davis, 9, who died last week after being shot in the head inside her North Philadelphia home, was arrested Wednesday and charged as a juvenile in connection with her death, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department said.
The boy, whose name was not released, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person, Officer Tanya Little said in a statement.
Nyssa’s father, Blake Davis, 39, also faces charges in the child’s Jan. 20 death. He was arrested last week on charges of involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of minors and firearm violations. Davis, a felon who is prohibited from having a gun, was not at home at the time of the shooting. He is jailed without bail.
Police have not said who shot Nyssa.
The shooting occurred at the family’s rented home on the 2300 block of North Bouvier Street. At the time, Nyssa, her brother, and a 5-year-old cousin were there without adult supervision. Relatives said Nyssa and her brother lived in the house with their father and his girlfriend.
After Nyssa was shot, her brother called 911. Police later recovered two guns in the home.
The girl, who suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of the head, was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital later that afternoon. She had the nickname Butterfly, said Patrick Flood, a lifelong friend of her father’s, who described the child as “quiet, nice, peaceful, loving.”
Flood, 40, who grew up with Davis, said it’s still not clear to the family what role the 12-year-old boy played in the shooting. With Nyssa’s death, and her brother and father charged, he said, the family is devastated.
”He’s crushed. He lost his daughter and he already knew they was going to charge his son before we knew. So, this whole incident has shattered his whole family now,” Flood said of Davis, who he said works in construction and had custody of his son and daughter.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Floyd said he told Davis. “God knows what’s going on, so you don’t have to worry about nothing because God’s going to handle it. It may look dark right now, but sit back and let God be God.”
Relatives believe the children found the gun and were playing with it when Nyssa was shot, Flood said.
A detective at the scene last week, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said “everything points to an accident,” but added that the investigation was still ongoing.
Court records indicate that Davis has been denied bail and he is scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 8. His court-appointed attorney, Lee Mandell, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
The child’s death saddened friends and neighbors on her block, who gathered for a vigil to mourn her. And it got the attention of City Council President Darrell Clarke, who posted tweets about the tragedy last week, reminding people to keep guns out of the reach of children.
“The death of a 9-year-old girl in North Philly today is deeply upsetting. With #gunviolence too prevalent in our streets, our homes should be safe havens. @PHLCouncil passed a safe-storage law that requires any gun in a home where children under 18 reside to be safely stored,” Clarke wrote.
In a separate tweet he said: “Please, if you own guns and there are children who live in or regularly visit your home, please get a gun safe or gun locks to secure your weapons today. It’s the law and it could prevent another senseless tragedy.”
Staff writer Erin McCarthy contributed to this article.