Yesterday afternoon, Nahdirah Jaamar dropped by a rowhouse on Salford Street to pick up her younger brother and ran into her 4-year-old cousin, Dyshon Boyd, a boisterous toddler that family members called "Pooh Bear."

Dyshon gave Jaamar, 15, a big hug and a kiss, and ran off.

Roughly a half-hour later, the 4-year-old lay dying from an apparently self-inflicted bullet wound, another young victim of Philadelphia's gun epidemic.

Police said Dyshon shot himself once in the throat about 4:50 p.m. inside the Southwest Philadelphia rowhouse belonging to a grandmother and great-grandmother.

The toddler was rushed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia but was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m., according to police and news accounts.

Last night, one local channel, CBS3, was reporting that the weapon was a 9 mm handgun and that Dyshon's father, Djuan Boyd, was also in the rowhouse - on Salford Street near Chester Avenue - at the time of the shooting incident.

Jaamar said Djuan Boyd was "a great father" to Dyshon.

"Everywhere you saw Dyshon, his father wasn't far behind," she said.

"He gave Dyshon the world."

Jaamar described her little cousin as a playful toddler who loved eating pizza from the nearby deli and watching cartoons on Nickelodeon.

When Jaamar returned to the house after the shooting last night, she screamed and pounded the windows in grief.

Meanwhile, police and fire crews were searching the house and the area outside, even looking on the roof of the rowhouse for the magazine of the weapon that killed Dyshon.

Inside the house were several pictures of Dyshon, a photogenic boy with mocha skin, bright dark eyes and a button nose.

"He was just a sweet little boy," said Tasha Lewis, a neighbor whose daughter attended preschool with Dyshon.

"Whenever I saw him, he was always playing." *